In numerous debates in the Legislature on abortion bills, Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm has said preventing unwanted pregnancies requires comprehensive sex education and access to contraception.

Haar introduced a bill (LB619) Wednesday that would require school districts to comply with state Board of Education accreditation regulations to offer sex education.

If the bill is debated and passed, it would become effective in the 2014-15 school year.

"Knowledge allows all of us to make healthy and informed choices," Haar said. "I think when it comes to sex education, ignorance is the enemy."

And that ignorance causes more abortions, he said.

Omaha Sen. Brenda Council introduced a similar bill last year, but it did not make it out of the Education Committee.

In Haar's bill, the sex education curriculum would have to be age appropriate, medically accurate and include abstinence. And parents would be able to have their children opt out. 

Now, it's up to local school boards to decide whether to teach sex education, what to cover and what grades are included.

It would include the benefits of and reasons for not engaging in sexual behaviors that could lead to pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. It also would include the negative effects of alcohol and drug use on decision making.

Besides abstinence, it would include information on the consistent and correct use of all other approved contraceptive methods. And it would teach kids about healthy relationships and avoidance of peer pressure related to sexual behaviors.

The curriculum would encourage youths to communicate with parents or other trusted adults about sexuality.

Parents would be able to view curricula, and students could be excused from any part of the instruction.

"The more information we can give people, the better choices they can make," he said. "And then it's up to them."

Reach JoAnne Young at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com -- You can follow JoAnne's tweets at twitter.com/ljslegislature.