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House Approves Sex Education Bill

On Tuesday, the Missouri House gave first round approval on a near party line vote to legislation that would place restrictions on who can teach sex education. The bill also would require parents to give permission for their children to take sex education classes. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports from Jefferson City.

Republican Representative Cynthia Davis of suburban St Louis says the state's current policy that allows parents to remove their teens from sex education classes isn't effective.

Davis is sponsoring legislation that would remove the opt out provision and instead would require parents who want their teens to take sex education to opt in to the class.

The provision has caused concern among some representatives, including Democrat Connie Johnson of St Louis. She says even when teens don't have formal sex education, they still get information only not from very reliable sources.

Besides changing the way students enroll in sex education classes, the bill would also ban anyone associated with an abortion provider from teaching sex ed.

Republican Representative Brian Stevenson of Joplin says the ban makes sense.

Some lawmakers say it's wrong to prevent people from organizations like Planned Parenthood from providing sex education.

Democratic Representative Margaret Donnelly of suburban St Louis read from letters she received from high school students. In the letters, the student indicate they did receive sex education at school from a Planned Parenthood employee.

Another democratic representative, Yaphett El-Amin of St Louis says lawmakers' effort to limit sex education in schools misses the mark.

She says it's not sex education in school that should cause concern.

While El-Amin and other argued the bill has the wrong focus, some lawmakers say the bill doesn't go far enough in restricting sex education.

Republican Representative Jim Lembke of St Louis County says schools shouldn't waste time on sex education.

The bill faces a final vote before heading to the Senate.