Tennessee House Passes Bill Requiring Educational Boards to Approve Contraception Information, Allowing Parents to Access and Opt Child Out of Information


The Tennessee House passed a bill enacting stricter oversight on contraceptive information for school-aged children. As amended, the legislation would require that any contraceptive information is consistent with public policy, approved by the local board of education or charter school governing body, and available upon request to the parent.

The educational boards must verify that the contraceptive information is both medically accurate and age-appropriate, and that it aligns with present state law and academic standards. If parents find the material objectionable, they can opt their student out without any penalty.

The sponsors on the bill were State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) and State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

Current Tennessee Code doesn’t include the requirements that any LEA review and approve material on contraceptives. It also doesn’t specify that parents can request access to the curriculum material, or opt their children out of receiving this information.

The House passed the legislation 70 to 22. Nearly all Democrats voted against it, with the exception of State Representative Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar) and John Mark Windle (D-Livingston). State Representative Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis) abstained her vote.

When the Senate passed the bill last week, every single Democratic senator voted against it.

In opposition to the bill, State Representative London Lamar (D-Memphis) said that 2019 data from the Tennessee Commission of Children estimated 20.5 percent STD rates among teens. She judged that this bill was inappropriate because it limited sexual education information.

In re-reading the bill, Ragan reiterated that it wasn’t taking away information from students, but refining the quality of information they could receive.

Ragan also clarified that the Tennessee Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission wouldn’t need to approve the contraceptive information.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval. This act would go into effect this summer.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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3 Thoughts to “Tennessee House Passes Bill Requiring Educational Boards to Approve Contraception Information, Allowing Parents to Access and Opt Child Out of Information”

  1. Robert E Roark

    Why is it that sex education has to be opted out of instead of being approved by parents in the first place? How do parents “opt out” of such classes? How and why did such personal private matters become the province of the education establishment? Part of the reason is that the family and parenting have been systematically taken away by government interference and given to the education establishment and correction agencies. It seems that every deviant behavior dreamed up by the culture elites have been taken from the family and given to public institutions. That this has taken place proves the lie that the culture wants diversity, instead it is desperately seeking uniformity and conformity. It also shows plainly that the education establishment is and has been the primary mover behind all the cultural debasement that has occurred over the last century.

  2. JB Taylor

    How about opting schools and the school board out completely, instead, notify the parents that the information is free and is available if the parents want it, from the state health Department. Then the parents can order the correct information sent to their homes for their children.

    Frees the teachers up teach the basics, like Social Studies, American History and STEM.

  3. 83ragtop50

    So what on God’s green earth are our public schools doing dispensing information about contraceptives? It is apparent that they are failing at teaching basic coursework. Maybe they should return to the fundamental purpose of education and get out of the business of parents and families. The fact that STD is a problem with teens might just be partially caused by the schools pushing sex at every turn.