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VOL. 127 | NO. 68 | Friday, April 06, 2012

Abstinence-Centered Bill Passes Tenn. Senate 28-1

AP

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NASHVILLE (AP) – A measure that would require "family life education" curricula taught in schools to be abstinence-centered has passed the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jack Johnson of Franklin was approved 28-1 on Thursday. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House Education Committee.

The legislation has become an alternative to a proposal that seeks to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students.

Johnson's legislation would allow the teaching of safe sex, but the curriculum would have to be "abstinence-centered," emphasizing that abstinence is withholding from "any kind of sexual contact."

Sen. Beverly Marrero cast the only dissenting vote. The Memphis Democrat called the proposal intrusive and said the issue should be "left to parents and school boards."

Sponsors of the proposal say it's also a tool to address the state's high teen pregnancy rate.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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