Critics blast Tennessee's 'no holding-hands bill'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee recently enacted a pro-abstinence sex education law that is among the strictest in the nation. The law was spurred by a classroom demonstration involving a sex toy.

The most-debated section of the bill bars educators from promoting so-called "gateway sexual activity." But supporters seemed too squeamish during floor debate to specify what that meant, so critics soon labeled it the "no holding-hands bill."

One thing missing from the debate in the Legislature was a discussion of whether the law signed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam last month really would help reduce Tennessee's high teenage pregnancy rate.

Experts say it won't. They say it leaves teenagers inadequately educated about sexuality and prevention of pregnancy and disease.

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