Meet the Republican Man Who Is Trying to Get Real Sex Education Into South Carolina Schools

What Women Really Think
May 2 2014 1:11 PM

Meet the Republican Man Who Is Trying to Get Real Sex Education Into South Carolina Schools

88668381-sculpture-of-george-washington-stands-infront-of-the
South Carolina's House of Representatives narrowly passed a sex ed bill this week.

Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images

Today's lesson in allowing yourself to believe in impossible things: The Republican-led South Carolina statehouse voted this week to update the law regarding sex education to include instruction on the use of contraception. Abstinence will still be stressed, even though 95 percent of Americans have premarital sex, so it's not like the curriculum will be venturing too far off into the darkness of reality. But the bill would require teachers to teach medically accurate information, including information about contraception.

More amazing yet, the sponsor of the bill is a Republican man, Rep. B.R. Skelton. He told the Associated Press that he wants to reduce teen pregnancy, STI transmission, abortion rates, and high school dropout rates in his state. "This is not a panacea for solving all of those problems," he said. "But if it solves it a little bit and decreases teen pregnancies a little bit and decreases STDs a little bit, then we are all a whole lot better off." 

Advertisement

Don't expect pigs to start flying and cats to start barking quite yet. There are still plenty of South Carolina Republicans who continue to stick to the fantastical claim that you can squelch teen curiosity about sex by pretending condoms don't exist. The bill barely squeaked by in the House and may not get past the Senate or the governor's desk.

Still, it may have been real world results within their state that caused lawmakers to rethink the current law that allows schools to teach abstinence-only classes. As NPR reported, the small town of Denmark, South Carolina, recently cut its teen pregnancy rate by two-thirds by introducing comprehensive sex education and getting the entire town involved in distributing free condoms and information on birth control in places like barber shops. While this bill doesn't go nearly as far as Denmark has—schools will still be banned from distributing condoms, for instance—it's a step in the right direction. Considering that South Carolina has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, every little move forward should be applauded. 

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Not Easy for Me, but I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 23 2014 10:03 AM Watch Steve Jobs Tell Michael Dell, "We're Coming After You"
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 23 2014 10:24 AM How Bad Are Your Drinking Habits? An 18th-Century Temperance Thermometer Has the Verdict
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 9:42 AM Listen to the Surprising New Single From Kendrick Lamar
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand With Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.