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Ohio House Budget Restricts Sex Health Instruction

A powerful Ohio House panel has adopted a state budget amendment restricting what's taught in health-education classes around Ohio. The amendment added to the two-year budget Tuesday prohibits teachers from distributing contraceptives on school property and requires them to endorse abstinence as the only acceptable way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It also bans teachers from instructing students on any behavior considered a "sexual gateway activity." Information about contraception and condoms could be provided if accompanied by a clear message that only abstinence is failsafe. Teachers who violate the requirements could be sued by a student's parent for damages, attorney's fees and court costs. A court then could impose a civil fine of up to $5,000. The House Finance Committee was expected to vote on the budget Tuesday.