Proposed bill that says abstinence must be taught in sex education class passes Senate Committee hearing

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- With an 8-2 vote, Senate Bill 71 passed a Kentucky Senate Health Committee on Thursday.

The bill, filed by Leitchfield lawmaker Steve Meredith, says that not having sex until marriage should always be part of the conversation during sex education classes. 

"I think we need to be uniform in the message," Meredith said. "And as I mentioned in my testimony, I think there's a bias against abstinence."

While there was support, Meredith was also met with pushback. 

"Talking about sex doesn't make our children promiscuous," said a mother at the hearing. "It makes them safe."

A strong voice in the conversation came from Atherton student Sophia Letson-Ettin, who was raped in her early teens. She said the bill's effects could shame other victims, and still wouldn't tell sex education students what they actually need to know. 

"If the JCPS sex ed curriculum had information and coherent instruction about positive consent, the guy who raped me might have had a better understanding that no means no, and only yes means yes," Letson-Ettin said.

Meredith said he doesn't want other parts of sex ed to be neglected.

"That was never my intent," Meredith said. "I believe in comprehensive sex education programs. All the things they talked about today, we need to make sure to address. But I want to make sure this particular revision isn't eliminated."

One state Senator didn't vote, saying he needed more information. 

It was a tough loss for Letson-Ettin, but she's vowing not to give up. 

"I know that it's not the end," she said. "I know that there's more we can do."

The bill still has a long way to go in the political process before potentially being implemented in the classroom. 

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