November 23, 2015 — The Massachusetts Senate on Wednesday voted 32-6 to pass a bill (S 2048) that would require school districts to use medically accurate and age appropriate sexuality education curriculum if they opt to teach sexuality education, MassLive reports.
The bill must next be voted on by the state House, which reconvenes in January. State Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D), the bill's sponsor, has proposed several versions of the measure since 2011.
The bill does not specify a particular curriculum. Rather, under the bill, a sexuality education curriculum would be required to teach abstinence and contraception, as well as ways to talk about safe sexual activity and how to create relationships free of violence or coercion.
The state Senate also passed an amendment, proposed by state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R), that would require education on indicators of child exploitation and sexual abuse, as well as the effects of becoming a parent.
State lawmakers rejected an amendment requiring parents and students to opt into the course. Instead, under the bill, parents will be notified about the curriculum and can choose to remove their children from the course.
According to MassLive, the measure has support from Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.
PPLM spokesperson Tricia Wajda said without the sexuality education bill, "there isn't a safeguard to ensure students are not being subjected to miseducation, or abstinence-only education, which is not effective when it comes to reducing unintended pregnancy in teens" (Schoenberg, MassLive, 11/19).