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La. House Defeats Sex Education Bill; Senate Passes Ultrasound Measure

The Louisiana House on Monday voted 67-23 against a bill (HB 529) that would have required public schools to provide instruction on sex education for students in grades four through 12.



The Baton Rouge Advocate reports. The vote effectively kills the measure's chances for passage this year, according to the Advocate.

The bill would have required the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a curriculum with "age-appropriate" information on human sexuality, including abstinence and "effectively using contraceptives and barrier methods" to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The bill called for the curriculum and teaching materials to be in place for the 2011-2012 school year. Parents would have been allowed to exempt their children from the classes by providing a written request.

During the debate, several House opponents of the measure said sex education should be taught by parents and not schools. However, state Rep. Patricia Smith (D), the bill's sponsor, said that the new curriculum was needed to address the state's STI "epidemic."

According to the Advocate, Louisiana is among the states with the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D), a supporter of the measure, noted that the high STI rate corresponds with the state's emphasis on abstinence-based sex education in public schools.

Senate Approves Ultrasound Bill

Meanwhile, the state Senate voted 33-4 in favor a bill (SB 528) that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound, the AP/WXVT reports. The measure now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass.

The bill also would require that providers ask women if they want to hear a detailed description of the fetus, a change from an earlier version. The original language of the provision, which was similar to a new Oklahoma law (HB 2780), would have required providers to give the description


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