The Pennsylvania House Education Committee voted to approve age appropriate sex education in all public schools, a first step in mandating comprehensive sex ed in schools across the state.
All Lancaster County districts teach students about human sexuality, in some cases as early as the fourth grade. But the level of instruction varies from district to district.
House Bill 1163 would make it a state mandate and require that all instruction be “age appropriate” and “medically accurate” — endorsed by such groups as the American Medical Association and state Department of Health.
The curriculum would have to include instruction on contraceptive use and sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
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Parents could choose to have their children opt out of the instruction, which is designed to reduce STIs and pregnancies among teens.
Wisconsin recently passed a similar mandate, called the Healthy Youth Act, created to help reduce instances of teen pregnancy and soaring STI rates in the state.
There is no word yet on when the Pennsylvania bill will go before the House for a full vote. Current polling in the state says that about 85 percent of parents want sex ed to be taught in their children’s schools.