A Massachusetts school has taken its first step toward giving students as young as 12 free access to condoms at school.
The Springfield School Committee voted 5-1 Thursday in favor of the "Comprehensive Reproductive Health Policy," which aims to promote safe sex, prevent sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.
Under the proposed program, students would be able to acquire condoms from school nurses and high-school based clinics, according to The Republican. Those who receive the contraceptive would be counseled on abstinence and proper storage and use.
The district would notify parents of the program before it takes effect, allowing them to opt out if they don't want their children to participate. The proposal requires a second vote of approval to be implemented.
The sole dissenting vote came from committee member Peter Murphy, who said he's not comfortable with providing condoms to 12-year-olds when the legal age of consent in Massachusetts is 16, according to The Inquisitr.
Springfield's teen birth rate has increased to make it the fourth-highest in the state in 2009, The Republican reports.
Springfield's move counters a number of political efforts on sex education across the country. The Wisconsin State Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill that would impose abstinence-only sex ed in schools. The proposal also requires that sex ed courses discuss parental responsibility and the socioeconomic benefits of marriage.
Utah is also just one step away from legalizing an abstinence-only sex ed policy that would prohibit discussion of both contraception and homosexuality in class. The policy would lift the current requirement that all public schools must teach sex ed in grades 8 through 12, leaving the districts to decide whether to offer sex ed classes that teach an abstinence-only curriculum, or not offer the course at all.