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Senate passes bill requiring abstinence education
Senator Reggie Thomas and Sen. Danny Carroll (R- Paducah). Thomas was a no vote. Sen. Danny and Sen. Julian Carroll (not pictured) were yes votes. arroll voted yes.

FRANKFORT - A bill that would require the inclusion of abstinence education in any human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases curriculum passed the Senate by a 32-5 vote today.

"Abstinence is the only measure which is 100 percent effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and contracting sexually-transmitted diseases," said bill sponsor Sen. Stephen Meredith, R-Leitchfield. "In choosing not to be in a monogamous relationship increases the probability of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease exponentially with each new partner."

Responding to opposition to the legislation, known as Senate Bill 71, Meredith emphasized it would not limit sex education to an abstinence-only curriculum. He said he just wanted to make sure abstinence is included in comprehensive sex education.

Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris, stood in support of SB 71.

"This bill is a very simple bill," he said. "It is 11 lines. It is very simple to read. It is very simple to understand. There is nothing in this bill that suggests abstinence only."

President Pro Tem Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, also stood in support of the bill. He said that if SB 71 becomes law it will be included in comprehensive sexual health education standards that are currently under review by public education officials.

Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, spoke against SB 71. She said she was fearful that only abstinence would be taught in some school districts if the bill becomes law - despite whatever curriculum standards are developed.

"I think we all know information is power," Harper said. "I would like to know why we don't want to empower our young folks with all the information they need to make good decisions about their bodies. What are we afraid of? No matter what we legislate, sex outside marriage is going to happen."

Sen. Danny Carroll, R- Paducah, voted for SB 71.

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