A bill that would require the teaching of sex education in public schools narrowly failed Wednesday afternoon in a Louisiana House committee.
The vote was 8-8, one short of the majority needed for any proposal to move to the full House for debate but enough to allow the legislation to be debated again.
State Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge and sponsor of the measure, said she plans to make another try at winning approval in the House Education Committee.
The proposal is House Bill 820 and would take effect with the 2013-14 school year. Under the plan, schools would be required to provide “age appropriate” instruction on human sexuality.
Topics at various grades would include the teaching of abstinence as the most reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and the proper use of contraceptives.
The bill would ban any advocacy for abortion.
Parents could, through a written request, have their children removed from the class.
Backers said the change is needed, in part because of Louisiana’s high rate of sexually transmitted diseases
“We are not giving them the right information to be healthy teens,” Smith told the committee.
Opponents said the issue should remain a local matter and one for parents and guardians.
Under current law, local school districts have the option of offering sex education classes but it is not a requirement.