OKLAHOMA CITY — Legislation that would direct Oklahoma’s public schools to teach that life begins at conception may fail not because of the controversy surrounding it but that the state cannot afford to pay for course materials.

Opponents, including Democrats, have questioned whether it is appropriate to confront high school students in grades 9-12 with such a politically divisive issue.

House members passed the bill earlier this month in a 64-12 vote. Senators have yet to schedule work on the bill.

Oklahoma faces a $1.3 billion budget hole in the next fiscal year, and bill supporters fear there won’t be enough money to implement the program, which is estimated to cost more than $4.5 million.

The National Right to Life Committee says Oklahoma’s legislation is the first of its kind in the nation.