The legislation in question, a bill in the Illinois State Senate that was supported but not sponsored by Obama, was, according to Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton, “written to protect young children from sexual predators” and had nothing to do with comprehensive sex education for kindergartners....Among other things, the bill removed what York calls "value-laden language" that in the old law, such as:
The bill in question was Senate Bill 99, introduced in the Senate in February 2003. Its broad purpose was to change and update portions of Illinois’s existing laws concerning sex education....
When the bill was introduced, a coalition of groups including the Illinois Public Health Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council and others issued a press release headlined “Coalition of Legislators, Physicians and Organizations Bring Illinois Into the 21st Century with Omnibus Healthcare Package.” It was a three-part campaign; Senate Bill 99, covering “medically accurate sex education,” was the first part, with two other bills addressing “funding for family planning services for women in need” and “contraceptive equity in health insurance.”
According to the press release, Senate Bill 99 required that “if a public school teaches sex education, family life education, and comprehensive health education courses, all materials and instruction must be medically and factually accurate.” The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Carol Ronen, was quoted saying, “It teaches students about the advantages of abstinence, while also giving them the realistic information they need about the prevention of an unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.” The release contained no mention of sexual predators or inappropriate touching....
"Course material and instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.In key language that Obama must now depend upon heavily, the bill provided that "all sex education courses that discuss sexual activity or behavior…be age and developmentally appropriate."
"Course material and instruction shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage…
"[Classes] shall emphasize that abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy [and] sexually transmitted diseases…"
The bill does also have a provision about unwanted touching:
"Course material and instruction shall teach pupils to not make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual advances and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The course material and instruction shall contain methods of preventing sexual assault by an acquaintance, including exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior that impairs one’s judgment. The course material and instruction shall emphasize personal accountability and respect for others and shall also encourage youth to resist negative peer pressure. The course material and instruction shall inform pupils of the potential legal consequences of sexual assault by an acquaintance. Specifically, pupils shall be advised that it is unlawful to touch an intimate part of another person as specified in the Criminal Code of 1961."York thinks that provision doesn't seem to be about teaching the youngest kids to avoid sexual predators:
The wording of that provision suggests lawmakers were at least as concerned with protecting children from each other as from adults, and it doesn’t seem directed toward the youngest children, as Obama maintained. But there is no doubt that the bill did address the question of inappropriate touching. On the other hand, there is also no doubt that, looking at the overall bill, the “touching” provision did not have the prominence that Team Obama has suggested it had, and it certainly wasn’t the bill’s main purpose.York describes his efforts to interview Illinois legislators who could give an account of what the legislation was intended to do.
“We know that young children, very, very young, have things happen to them that they don’t speak about,” [state senator Iris] Martinez told me. “It’s important that we teach our young kids very, very young to speak up.”York notes that "nearly all commentators" have accepted Obama's assertion that he voted for the bill because he was concerned about protecting young children from sexual predators, but:
When I asked Martinez the rationale for changing grade six to kindergarten, she said that groups like Planned Parenthood and the Cook County Department of Health — both major contributors to the bill — “were finding that there were children younger than the sixth grade that were being inappropriately touched or molested.” When I asked about the elimination of references to marriage and the contraception passages, Martinez said that the changes were “based on some of the information we got from Planned Parenthood.”
After we discussed other aspects of the bill, I told Martinez that reading the bill, I just didn’t see it as being exclusively, or even mostly, about inappropriate touching. “I didn’t see it that way, either,” Martinez said. “It’s just more information about a whole variety of things that have to go into a sex education class, the things that are outdated that you want to amend with things that are much more current.”
So, I asked, you didn’t see it specifically as being about inappropriate touching?
The fact is, the bill’s intention was to mandate sex education, especially concerning contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, for children before the sixth grade and as early as kindergarten. Obama’s defenders may howl, but the bill is what it is.If you still think the McCain ad lies about Obama, please explain why, using the text of the ad.
It seems to me that all the McCain ad does is decline to accept Obama's self-serving characterization of the reason why he voted for the bill. But study the text and the legislative history of the bill, as York has, and try to explain how it can possibly be considered a lie to say that he voted for comprehensive sex education for kindergartners.