Abstinence-only sex-ed is indefensible
Lorie Johnson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 11:48:22 AM EST
As the public schools in this country fall more and more into lockstep with the government-funded and religiously motivated 'abstinence only' sexual education, what does this spell for the future health and education of our young people?
The US has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and STDs in the developed world. And those numbers are growing, in spite of government funded and faith-based abstinence only education in the schools. Here's what an article in today's San Francisco Chronicle had to say:
The Society for Adolescent Medicine sounded the alarm once again this month about the problems with government-funded abstinence-only programs in a comprehensive report. Not surprisingly, the findings aren't good.

A little more than a year ago, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Los Angeles, sounded this alarm in a study that found "false, misleading or distorted information" in the programs' teaching materials. Youth participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs, for instance, frequently received medically inaccurate or misleading information, often in direct contradiction to the findings of government scientists. They had been taught, for example, that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy."

Read that last paragraph again. This stuff is being taught in our public schools as fact.  Just the gay bashing phrase alone should warrent a red flag.

The society's new report, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, charges that "current federal abstinence-only-until-marriage policy is ethically problematic, as it excludes accurate information about contraception, misinforms by overemphasizing or misstating the risks of contraception and fails to require the use of scientifically accurate information while promoting approaches of questionable value." Furthermore, the report notes that the policy threatens "fundamental human rights to health, information and life."

Read that last sentence again: "Fundemental human rights to health, information, and life".

Essentially, in permitting the faith-based teachings of sexual education to permeate our schools, we are endangering the health and lives of our children.

The article continues:

Responding to the latest review of abstinence-only programs, James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, stated last week: "The report reads like an indictment. Abstinence-only is bad science, bad policy and a blatant violation of medical ethics and basic human rights. [emphasis mine] Enough is enough. The time has come for Congress to declare an immediate moratorium on federal funding for these programs. It is a national scandal that we have already spent over $1.1 billion of taxpayers' dollars on programs that don't work and that censor vital public health information for young people."

Federally funded abstinence-only education programs, which have enjoyed exceptional support and growth since 1996, have "educated" several million youth and are funded to the tune of $170 million a year, are not only grounded in bad science and subject to political whim, but they also don't offer what American parents say they want their kids to be taught.

A 2004 poll by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government found that 93 percent of Americans say sex education should be taught in schools and that, except for some geographical "pockets of controversy," there is little debate about what kind of sex education should be taught.

So, it's clear that the vast majority of Americans think that our kids need to know about sex, and how it ought to be taught. Why aren't we pushing back?

Here's what the federal government has listed as guidelines for abstinence only sex-ed:

The federal definition of an eligible abstinence-only education program is one that:

    * has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, physiological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;
    * teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;
    * teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;
    * teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;
    * teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;
    * teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society;
    * teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and
    * teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.

And what fills the vacuum of ignorance about sex and sexuality in the absence of actual in-depth education? Here are some things that teens believe:

I can't get an STD if I have oral sex.
 I'm having my period, so I can't get pregnant.
If I have oral or anal sex, I'm still a virgin.

There has been a bit of exposure and push-back in the religious domination of teen-abstinence programs. The most recent example is the Silver Ring Thing, which was federally funded until the ACLU sued the government over its violation of the Establishment Clause.

The bottom line is that the lives and health of our young people -especially our young women- are in danger because of the deliberately misleading  things taught by government funded groups. We need to stand up for our kids and stand up to the enroachment of sexual ignorance that will harm them.  

The British press have watched all of this with growing alarm:

And here's the hub of the debate surrounding the abstinence movement in the USA: is it a legitimate response to a clear medical danger, or is it a moral crusade, driven by a specific interpretation of Christian values?

Whatever the answer, it is clear that the conservative Christian morality of President Bush is finding its way into legislation that promotes abstinence.

The Bush administration gave $120m to abstinence organisations last year.

For some Republican members of the administration, the abstinence issue is a clear case of Christian conscience. For others, it is a way of boosting their conservative credentials via an issue that remains less contentious than abortion.

Many of the abstinence organisations, like the Silver Ring Thing which received $700,000 in federal funding, are faith-based groups.

They can see it- why can't we?

by Lorie Johnson on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 11:53:22 AM EST

This means plenty more teenage pregnancies, and teenage single mothers, and children brought up in poverty.
It also means untrammeled spread of HIV infection, so we can all look forward to a huge raft of new AIDS cases in eight to ten years.

by MaryOGrady on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 02:17:03 PM EST

I need to learn how to do that...

by Lorie Johnson on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 04:40:02 PM EST
To graphically depict social and health data as a specific site draw for Talk To Action.

The national maps there are unique - psyche from Talk to Action posted a link to some national maps on health ( STD ) data, but these here have the very latest publicly available US and State government data, and breaking down rates of incidence by quintile gives much more useful data than a breakdown by, for example, thirds.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 05:28:33 PM EST

Graphics can convey information much more clearly than words/numbers.

Now...since there are at least two of us here who are foggy about how to post them, would you be kind enough to post a good link to fill us in on the process?

by Psyche on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 06:46:11 PM EST

Well I understand the need for accurate information in terms of sex education...but  perhaps I'm a little foggy on this subject...are you saying that sexual abstinence is bad or bad without accurate information, or lacking in understanding about human sexuality?

by akaladystar on Thu Jan 12, 2006 at 11:50:09 PM EST
[ source: Since 1991, rates of teenage pregnancy and birth have declined significantly in the United States. These are welcome trends. Yet, teens in the United States continue to suffer from the highest birth rate and one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the industrialized world. Debate over the best way to help teens avoid, or reduce, their sexual risk-taking behavior has polarized many youth-serving professionals. On one side are those that support comprehensive sex education--education that promotes abstinence but includes information about contraception and condoms to build young people's knowledge, attitudes and skills for when they do become sexually active. On the other side are those that favor abstinence-only-until-marriage--programs that promote "abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard"[1] of behavior. Proponents of abstinence-only programs believe that providing information about the health benefits of condoms or contraception contradicts their message of abstinence-only and undermines its impact. As such, abstinence-only programs provide no information about contraception beyond failure rates.

In 1996, Congress signed into law the Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act, or "welfare reform." Attached was the provision, later set out in Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, appropriating $250 million dollars over five years for state initiatives promoting sexual abstinence outside of marriage as the only acceptable standard of behavior for young people.

The quote above is from a detailed study of the effects of abstinence-only education.

Here's the conclusion:

Abstinence-only programs show little evidence of sustained (long-term) impact on attitudes and intentions. Worse, they show some negative impacts on youth's willingness to use contraception, including condoms, to prevent negative sexual health outcomes related to sexual intercourse. Importantly, only in one state did any program demonstrate short-term success in delaying the initiation of sex; none of these programs demonstrates evidence of long-term success in delaying sexual initiation among youth exposed to the programs or any evidence of success in reducing other sexual risk-taking behaviors among participants.

There is some preliminary evidence, also, showing rises in STD rates in at least on US state which has mandated abstinence-only education for about a decade now.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 10:39:48 AM EST

Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information..    best CBD gummies

by hasnainkhatri on Wed May 06, 2020 at 05:01:28 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (374 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (195 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (110 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (101 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (113 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (144 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (126 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (118 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (250 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (64 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (161 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (176 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (70 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (80 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (218 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (253 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (107 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (211 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (165 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (163 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (169 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (156 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (130 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (330 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (148 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (90 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (214 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.