New law does away with "abstinence only" sex education

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DECATUR -- A new law is changing sex education in Illinois classrooms.

Starting January 1, public schools that teach sex ed must include lessons on birth control and sexually transmitted diseases -- not just abstinence. Governor Quinn signed the bill on Friday.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois has long supported a new sex education bill. Supporters hope the law will reach students before they engage in risky behaviors.

"The law requires to emphasize abstinence," said Planned Parenthood's Brigid Leahy. "[Teachers will] make it very clear to students that it's the only 100-percent effective way to prevent pregnancy and getting an STD."

Leahy said teachers will also incorporate instruction for students who become sexually active.

"Contraception is available to protect yourself and reduce your risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases."

Private and parochial schools are not required to follow this law. Parents of students who are not comfortable with the changes can opt their child out of the class.

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