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Proposed Illinois law would include consent in sex ed

Illinois State Capitol. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Illinois State Capitol. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

SPRINGFIELD — On Thursday, the Illinois House passed a bill that would require a more detailed definition for consent in sex ed programs for middle and high school students in public schools.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Sex education is not mandated by law in Illinois, but schools that have such programs must include certain themes, like the issue of consent.

But the current law does not define consent, nor specify what instruction about it should include, said state Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago, main sponsor of the bill, which now moves on to the Senate.

“Consent is much more complex a topic than ‘no means no,’” she said. “It looks a lot different if someone is in a position of trust and authority … or if there is alcohol or drugs.”

If passed, schools would have to include several points in their teachings on consent, such as explaining that people cannot consent if they are intoxicated or asleep. The text of the bill specifies that “consent is a freely given agreement to sexual activity” and that “consent to one particular sexual activity does not constitute consent to other types of sexual activities.”

The bill goes on to specify what should not be mistaken for consent, such as what someone is wearing, and that consent to past sexual activity does not mean consent to future sexual activity.

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