Roundup: Ab-only Confusing Teens, More Women Than Ever Asking for Birth Control

Brady Swenson

Adolescents and teens often hold seemingly irreconcilable ideas about having sex; Is HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt deliberately trying to stifle debate on proposed regulations?; More women than ever seeking birth control; UK government reduces compensation payments to rape victims who had been drinking.

Ab-only Curriculum Confuses Teens … New research out in the current issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health shows that "adolescents and teens often hold seemingly irreconcilable
ideas about having sex, confounding the abstinence-only sex education
message supported by over a billion dollars of federal funding" writes Brian Alexander at

The problem with that message, Masters said,
is not that adolescents ignore it. In her survey of 365 young people
ages 12 to 15, she found that many had a positive view of abstinence,
and those who did had less chance of having sex during the following 12

But there was a catch. So-called “sex intention” powerfully modified “abstinence intention.”

a range from 1 to 3, with 3 being the highest intention to abstain or
to have sex, teens who scored very low on their sex intentions (1s)
were not likely to have sex regardless of their abstinence intentions.
But among teens with high scores (3s) on their sex intentions, those
who also held the highest abstinence intentions were actually most
likely to have sex.

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a kids’ abstinence intentions has little impact on the bottom line,"
Masters said. But if a teen with a high sex intention obtains higher
abstinence intentions, "he may become, we think, confused or conflicted
and those heightened abstinence intentions may make him more likely to
have sex in a kind of boomerang effect."


The Mysteriously Changing URL … Rewire readers know
we’re covering HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and his blogging about
proposed regulations jeopardizing the use of contraceptives by people.
But Rachel at Womens Health News has picked up on something disturbing.
The url that has received the most vigorous commenting on Secretary
Leavitt’s blog has been changed twice since the original posting. I’m
sure the Secretary, the first ever to blog, isn’t trying to stifle
vigorous debate about these issues. I mean, no one in the Bush
Administration would do that, for ideological reasons, would they?

If you are a blogger who has linked to Sec. Leavitt’s blog post, make sure you have the new correct links so that all opinions are heard in this important debate. 


Yet More Worthy Reading on HHS’ Proposed Anti-contraception Regulations … One of the UK’s leading media institutions, The New Statesman, has published a piece today that does a great job putting the proposal in it’s political context. The New Statesman appropriately mentions the rise of ‘pro-life’ pharmacies over the past couple of years as a prolougue to this move by the Bush Administration and Secretary Michael Leavitt:

The argument over medical practitioners’ rights shadows a similar
battle over contraception among pharmacists, who are given similar
conscience rights that allow them to deny patients contraceptives if
they have moral objections to birth control.

In large towns and cities, this is little more than an
inconvenience, but in rural areas and in parts of cities ill-served by
pharmacists, the denial of contraception amounts to a restriction on a
person’s right to avoid pregnancy or practise safe sex.

You should also read a post at the liberal politics blog Free For All that does not mention the proposed HHS regulations specifically but takes on Humanae Vitae, perhaps the first, and most influential, "contraception is abortion" argument, the very same idea that is driving the proposed regs:

Scientifically and morally, there is evidence to show that Paul VI
and John Paul II were just plain wrong. Until gastrulation, which
occurs after implantation, twinning can occur (a moral objection to the
gestationalists) and hybrids continue to develop (proving that a
blastocyst may not actually be a human in some cases if bestiality was
involved in the conception). 40 years ago, the Pope’s scientific and
theological advisors told him as much and were disregarded. In ethics
class, this is called vincible ignorance and does not excuse the evil
it causes.

Married Catholics also provided advice to the Pope on this issue and
were also ignored, as they supported artificial birth control. As a
married Catholic myself, the idea of taking advice about sex from
confirmed celebates strikes me as a bit odd. As one who is approaching
middle age and whose wife is approaching menopause, I find the
assertion that sex without the possibility of procreation to be less
than worthy to be personally insulting. The argument ad aburdo arising
from this position is that I should divorce my wife and find a twenty
year old for more procreation. That may work in some fundamentalist
Mormon sects, but it is hardly Catholic.

Click here to see Rewire’s extensive coverage of the proposed regulations.


More Women Than Ever Asking for Birth Control … Just as the Bush Administration is trying to limit access to contraception for American women new Guttmacher Institute research reveals that more women that ever are using birth control:

The percentage of women who received contraceptive services increased
from 36% in 1995 to 41% in 2002. Frost writes that the increase mainly
occurred in adolescents, women older than 30, and women with household
incomes greater than 150% of the federal poverty level.


Rape Victims Deserve Better … Cath Elliott of the Guardian has a great piece on yesterday’s news
that some rape victims have had their compensation payments reduced by
the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) simply because
they’d had a bit to drink prior to the crime:

It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve ever heard this particular rape myth,
the one that says that inebriated women are somehow partly responsible
for their own rapes; indeed, it’s the same tired argument that’s used
against those irresponsible and feckless women who choose to dress
"provocatively" or who dare to walk about unchaperoned after dark, in
fact against any woman, ever, who isn’t able to prove to the world that
she’s led a totally blame-free and virginal life. Let’s face it, if
you’re a woman, and you’re one of the nearly 14,000 a year who’s brave
enough to report a sex crime committed against you, someone, somewhere,
will find a reason to argue that it was all your fault: and yet people
still wonder why tens of thousands more women choose not to report
these assaults.

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