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May 15th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

'Gateway-sex' bill in Tenn. attracts criticism – State Sen. DeBerry on why more efforts are needed to stem tide of teen pregnancy

"School is not a pickup place," Tennessee Representative John DeBerry says. That's the basis for the state's new bill, an initiative that will completely reform the way schools teach sex-ed and police PDA in Tennessee's public school systems.

The "gateway-sex" bill, as its being called, requires sexual education classes to "exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student's current of prior sexual experience."

Tennessee ranks in the top 10 states for high teen pregnancy rates. The current teaching has been abstinence-only; DeBerry insists that this new bill is a fresh approach to prevent intimate contact between teens and it should change his state's statistics.
Let's hope so: the teenage pregnancy statistics for Shelby County, Memphis are more than double those of the national average.

"This is America, we're the greatest country on earth," DeBerry says. "The only thing a person really has to have for a decent living in America is graduate high school and not have a child before you're ready to take care of that child."

But is limiting access to sexual knowledge the best alternative? Brooke Baldwin and today's panel discuss. See more from the interview below.