INDIANAPOLIS- A proposal offered by State Senator Jean D. Breaux (D-Indianapolis) will be considered by the Senate Education and Career Development Committee later this week. Senate Bill (SB) 497 would require the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Education to work together to identify appropriate academic standards concerning health and sex education and report their findings to the Indiana General Assembly.

“Teen pregnancy is a problem that affects more and more Hoosier students each year,” said Sen. Breaux. “There is evidence to suggest the ‘abstinence-only’ approach is not working. We need to develop a program and take a different educational approach in order to curb teen pregnancy in the state.”

The Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) passed in 1981 and provided federal funding for abstinence-only sexual education programs. Between 1996 and 2009, it is estimated Congress spent over $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds to support these programs.

Current research from the U.S. Department of Health has found that sexual abstinence rates have not increased since abstinence-only programs were required in schools. In the study, the average age of an individual’s first sexual experience remained the same, as well as their number of sexual partners.

SB 497 will be considered by the committee on Wednesday and, if approved, will be considered by the full Senate on second reading where any member of the Senate can amend the proposal.

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