COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Two Republican legislators say South Carolina's 25-year-old law on sex education must be updated to decrease teen pregnancy and the generational poverty it brings.
Rep. B.R. Skelton said at a news conference Tuesday he sponsored the measure out of compassion and economic concerns, adding he is concerned about the family pattern teen moms sometimes create.
"Their babies have had babies and dropped out of school, and sometimes it creates a generational dependency -- something we need to stop," said Skelton.
The bill calls for teaching "medically accurate and factual" lessons on reproductive health and pregnancy prevention to high school students. Under the measure, the teacher must be certified in health education.
"Knowledge is power, and if children do not understand how their bodies work, it doesn't mean they won't engage in sex," said Rep. Jenny Horne who is co-sponsoring the bill.
The law would still require that reproductive health education include lessons on abstinence. Lessons would also include information on contraception as a way to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Rep. Horne disputes the notion that such education promotes risky behavior. She says teens given accurate information on their bodies delay or avoid sex.