Bill could modernize sex education in Alabama schools
Alabama Sen. Tom Whatley’s bill to modernize sex education in Alabama’s school system is pending committee action in the second house as of April 18. Whatley introduced SB140 in March 2019. The bill plans to revise portions of the course materials and instructions used to teach K-12 students about sex education in the Alabama Code 16-40-A2.
Escambia County Superintendent John Knott said the bill is making the Alabama Code 16-40-A2 politically correct. The bill will update medical terms such as “sexually transmitted diseases” to “sexually transmitted infections.”
Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy Executive Director Christina Clark Okarmus told AL.com that changing “diseases” to “infections” causes young people to feel more comfortable seeking treatment because “infections” is less stigmatized than “diseases.”
The bill changes references to AIDS to HIV because when HIV is untreated it becomes AIDS.
The bill also plans to change language that can be interpreted as insensitive such as “unwanted pregnancy” to “unintended pregnancy.” The bill will also remove the section that states that homosexuality is socially unacceptable and illegal.
The bill plans to continue promoting abstinence, but it will have more education on contraception and other safe sex practices.
“We need to teach and promote abstinence,” Knott said. “I believe that with all of my heart. I also believe that at the same time we have to know that our kids so don’t make the best choices, so they need to be fully educated on all of the preventive options that are out there.”