Yesterday, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted 17 to 15, along party lines, to permit schools to teach abstinence-only education. The bill will now go to the state Assembly, which also has a Republican majority.

Last year, a law was passed in Wisconsin banning abstinence-only courses. Under the law, schools can elect not to offer sex education but if they choose to offer sex education, the courses are required to be age-appropriate, comprehensive, and include information about contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). According to Democrats, after Milwaukee started a program in 2008 to teach teens about both abstinence and birth control, the teen birth rate dropped significantly from 52 births per 1,000 teens in 2006 to 35.7 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

Comprehensive family planning services, like those funded by Title X, are based in science and are medically necessary (Feminist Campus). The federal government has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars since 1996 on abstinence-only education programs, which have proven ineffective at preventing unplanned pregnancy and the spread of STIs.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 11/2/11; Associated Press 11/2/11

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