Shades of Jocelyn Elders: Far right has its knickers in a twist on masturbation as part of sex ed curriculum
The far right continues to use the "sex boogeyman" as a scare tactic to undermine comprehensive sex ed, here and abroad.
Agence-France Press reports that guidelines originally drafted by the UN cultural organisation Unesco will promote…..(gasp!)….masturbation.
First of all, as a mother of two, I can tell you that children begin touching their bodies, including their genitalia, when they are infants. It is natural and there is nothing wrong with it. The thing that is wrong is the horrified reaction of adults to this natural behavior. Second, if we want teens to delay sexual activity as long as possible, then masturbation is a good tool to promote that. Finally, making masturbation dirty makes a natural act dirty, and can lead to lifelong sexual hangups. No matter whether you are "abstinent until marriage" or not, there is nothing wrong with masturbation.
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Tell that to the far right. (I know none of these folks masturbates……).
The draft guidelines now under review, the International Guidelines on Sexual Education, are intended to improve the sexual education of the world’s
children by creating a platform that can be adapted by national governments in creating curricula and guiding policy discussions. Shockingly, these guidelines are based on evidence, human rights, and best practices.
But they have come under attack from parts of the American right, which
has accused UNESCO of "promoting masturbation" and, of course, no surprise….abortion.
The AFP story states:
Last week, the UN cultural organisation Unesco released the draft International Guidelines on Sexual Education intended for discussion among experts in the coming months before a final version is sent to national authorities.
guidelines are meant as a "global template" of ideas to help young
people make safe and responsible sexual choices, avoid sexually
transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy and escape prostitution or
But one section of the draft in particular appears
to have caught the eye of American headline writers. "UN report
advocates teaching masturbation to five-year-olds," ran one story on
the Fox News website.
AFP at least gets it right by noting that the Fox report and "many more like it from
mainly right-wing US media and internet outlets," focused on the Unesco
report’s suggested syllabus for school children aged between five and
eight years old.
What do the guidelines say on this issue?
"It is natural to explore and touch
parts of one’s own body. Bodies can feel good when touched. Touching
and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbating. Some people
masturbate and some do not.
"Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in private," it adds.
It’s kind of like saying "it is natural to breathe." But if that was "pleasurable," or otherwise political, the far right would also be after banning breathing (except for themselves, of course).
Liliana Segura of Alternet, citing Tampa Bay Online, writes about efforts to pass an "egg-as-person" law in Florida:
"Yes, the state that brought you Bush v. Gore, the sex offender colony under the bridge, and the shoot-first-ask-questions-later legislation known as the "Stand Your Ground Law" has another idea up its sleeve. And this one’s for the ladies."
Tampa Bay Online reports:
TALLAHASSEE – Anti-abortion conservatives are proposing a
new constitutional amendment that critics claim would make it a crime
to take birth control pills in Florida.
"Personhood Amendment" that conservative activists are filing today in
Tallahassee would add language to the state constitution that defines
someone as a "person," regardless of age or health status, "from the
beginning of the biological development of that human being."
"This, of course, is just another twist on the conventional argument
by anti-choice groups that birth control pills are basically murder
The pill will irritate the lining of the uterus so that the
newly formed human being cannot attach to his/her mother’s womb and
dies," reads an explanation on the website of the American Life League, which is supporting similar efforts in other states. "This is called a chemical abortion.
This is the same group that runs thepillkills.com, a site that "focuses on blood clots and other health risks that birth control pills pose to women."
Even if these people manage to collect the 676,811 signatures
they need to get by Feb. 1 in order for this idea to be considered by
Florida residents, even anti-choice politicians seem to be a bit
ambivalent about the idea of criminalizing birth control.
Tri-State News: Arizona abortion law faces court challenges
Catholic Exchange: Spanish Doctors Will Choose Jail over Committing Abortion
Chicago Tribune: Illinois gets funding for increasing adoptions
ABC News Australia: Ethiopian children exploited by US adoption agencies
News 24: UN ‘promoting masturbation’
Niagara Gazette: CONFER: Health care reform and abortions
Chicago Daily Observer: A Clear Statement on Healthcare Bill: Abortion Will Not Be Funded
Star Beacon: Brown aide: Health reforms won’t pay abortions costs
The Lariat Online: Mike Huckabee to visit Waco, speak on life
State News: Bill calls for insurance-backed birth control
Dominican Today: Amnesty International joins Dominican abortion fray
Catholic News Agency: Murder of Michigan pro-lifer a ‘non-story’ for Obama Catholics
Baptist Press: Slain pro-life activist is martyr, some say
San Antonio Business Journal: Texas receives $5 million in incentive money for increasing adoptions
Opposing Views: Using Abortion to Choose Baby’s Gender-Is it Right?
U.S. News & World Report: Abortion Debate Could Make or Break Healthcare Reform
Catholic Exchange: Pro-Abortion Groups Silent in Wake of Pro-Life Activist’s Slaying
U.S. News & World Report: The Liberal, Pro-Life Case Against Healthcare Reform’s Foes
Phoenix Business Journal: Planned Parenthood sues over new abortion restrictions
Atlantic: Beware Of Decoys In The Abortion Wars
Washington Times: Pro-lifers pray for Obama’s conversion
NJ.com: Abortion Double Standard
Palm Beach Post: (Letter) Rhetoric neglects to take stand on abortion issue
Denver Post: Health care’s hot topic: funding for abortions
Boston Herald: Pro-choice group supports Martha Coakley
NewsBusters: ABC Thinks ObamaCare MIGHT Cover Abortions