Roundup: Teens Promise Not to Have Sex, Except When They Do

Robin Marty

Revealing clothes are supposed to help you stay a virgin, and more things that make you go "huh?"

It’s Monday morning and the kids are back at school.  And what are they learning now?

If they’re in an abstinence only ed class, probably not very much.

Why, yes, it IS time for an Abstinence Only Roundup!

First off, a reminder from the New York Times about what we already know: abstinence only education just doesn’t work.

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No doubt a number of factors contributed to the upticks, [in teen pregnancy] including,
for example, declining contraceptive use by teenagers. But the
[Guttmacher] institute also sees a link between the rise in the teenage pregnancy
and abortion rates and the Bush administration’s reliance on
abstinence-only sex education programs that bar teaching about
contraception. This is not an unreasonable inference.

study is timely. As part of the broader health care reform effort,
abstinence-only advocates are trying hard to restore financing for the
narrow, ineffective and fundamentally dishonest approach.

Seems pretty clear, right?  So of course, the Times had to come up with an outside op ed to counter it.  You know, because balance is way more important than facts.

The new numbers, declared the president of Planned Parenthood, make it “crystal clear that abstinence-only sex education for teenagers does not work.”

reality, the numbers show no such thing. Abstinence financing increased
under Bush, but the federal government has been funneling money to
pro-chastity initiatives since early in Bill Clinton’s presidency. If
you blame abstinence programs for a year’s worth of bad news, you’d
also have to give them credit for more than a decade’s worth of

More likely, neither blame nor credit is appropriate.
The evidence suggests that many abstinence-only programs have little
impact on teenage sexual behavior, just as their critics long insisted.
But most sex education programs of any kind have an ambiguous effect,
at best, on whether and how teens have sex. The abstinence-based
courses that social conservatives champion produce unimpressive results
— but so do the contraceptive-oriented programs that liberals tend to

Got that?  Abstinence only education may not work, but since you haven’t proven to him that other sex-ed classes do, you should keep funding them anyway.  The fatal flaw in his argument being that if there was less abstinence only ed during Clinton and the numbers were down, than an increase in it during Bush and the numbers rose, then yes, you pretty much did prove right there what’s causing the problem.

Need a little more convincing that teaching about contraception is the best way to reduce teen pregnancy and STD infection rates? How about this: even the Mormons are doing it.

The irony behind a poll published Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune is
that while most Mormons oppose teaching about contraception in their
schools, the population centers with the highest concentration of
members of the LDS Church lead the nation in accessing emergency
anti-pregnancy treatments. They also are among the leaders in STD

That is why conservative Mormon Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St.
George, is sponsoring a bill this session that would require school
districts to teach students in their sex education classes about

"I was blown away when I learned of the infection rates (of
sexually transmitted diseases)," Urquhart told me in a recent
interview. "We have got to get a handle on this thing.

But if you really want to keep going with this abstinence only thing, you’ve got some really good ammunition to assist you in getting the message across these days — Bristol Palin and the Candies Foundation.

Candies wants to help fight teen pregnancy, but not in any way that
might actually, you know, work. Its whole strategy is to tell teens to
wait. Wear sexy clothes, but don’t have sex. Just don’t have sex. Its
page of “tips” are all about sex — not safe sex, mind, you, but how
most teens who end up pregnant hadn’t really considered the
consequences of sex. So, you see, just don’t do it, and then you won’t
have that problem.

Naturally, Bristol is the perfect spokesperson for this campaign.
Because even though she had sex, and we all know it, there’s no law
that says she can’t pretend she didn’t have sex and that her vows of
abstinence won’t be true in the future.

But one thing that will always help keep a teen safe is to augment any type of sex ed, be it full educational or just of the abstinence variety, is to talk to your children.  Advice columnist Carolyn Hax walks one parent through the process in her latest piece.

[E]xplain what it is about: making big decisions for the right reasons.

What society thinks isn’t relevant. What her friends do isn’t relevant.
(Though both have the power to make her miserable, if she’ll let them.)
Whether she’s ready to take responsibility for her sexual health is
relevant. (Can she remember to take medication regularly, or use a
barrier method correctly and/or in the heat of the moment?) Whether
she’s ready to raise a child, abort one or place one for adoption is
relevant, because birth control isn’t perfect. When you’re doing things
that will potentially create a life, your life has to be at a stage
where you can handle that responsibility.


Mini Roundup:  The Council of Catholic Advocates in Mexico argue that children raised by same sex couples cannot will be submitted to "psychological violence" and not be "fostered to their full potential," like they would be with no families at all, and in Nebraska, anti-abortion forces continue to rally for a ban on a procedure that hasn’t been performed in the state in a year. And if all of that doesn’t make you go "what?" then read a little about what doctors may be doing while you’re out cold — without your consent.


February 1, 2010

The Pro-Life
Assault on Ron Paul

Counselors: The Front Lines of the
Pro-Life Movement (Part One)
Catholic Online

in America: Extremes and excesses
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Shifts on Global Health
Wall Street Journal

adoption option

Missionaries Call Incident a ‘Misunderstanding’
New York Times


January 31, 2010

generalizations about
pro-life protesters
Washington Post

House Aims to Broaden Approach to Global Health
Wall Street Journal

budget targets women amid complaints

Kansas City Star

Super Bowl ad we can do without
Los Angeles Times

Brown says he supports
abortion rights
Washington Post

foes want to see…

the Stupid Sex, Stupid
Daily Kos

Ed in Washington
York Times

Brown Says He Supports Abortion, Limits, and Opposes Health Care Bill

Hax offers advice on talking to a teenage daughter about sex
Washington Post

boy, girl arrested for ‘sexting’
Montreal Gazette

Jump in HIV cases deserves attention

Minneapolis Star Tribune

would open future Missouri
adoption records
Columbia Missourian


January 30, 2010

displays contempt for children, warns council
Catholic News Agency

Troubling Uptick
York Times

America Statement on Jury’s Conviction of Scott Roeder
Common Dreams

group promises to help teens obtain abortions in Mexico City
Catholic News Agency
is "
Pro Choice,"
Why the Controversy over Tim Tebow Ad?

Opposing Views

angers anti-
Journal Constitution

Dating Ad Sacked before Super Bowl

CBS News

Sex ed,
birth control and
Lake Tribune

touts personhood amendment
Billings Gazette

care system costs not just dollars, but lives
Cumberland Times-News

Determined Quest to Bring Adoptive Ties to Foster Teenagers
New York Times

kept in care to save
adoption cost
The Guardian

quake orphans trapped by red tape
BBC News


January 29, 2010

Confession Rules Out Lesser Charge in
Abortion Doc Death
ABC News

foes feel betrayed

Considers if
Slaying Was Murder
Street Journal

verdict in slain Kansas
abortion doctor case

Pregnancy Centers:
Abortion Advocates Can’t Produce a Real

House panel supports pre-
abortion ultrasound access
Salt Lake Tribune

Rights Watch condemns Irish ban on
Catholic Culture

better choice for emergency
The Guardian

Conscience’ Bill Back in Idaho Legislature
New West

contraception is
more varied than you might think
Los Angeles Times

Feedings At Your Local Catholic Hospital.

Stand up.
Stanford Daily

Pro-choice! An
embarrassment of musical riches in LA tonight
Los Angeles Times

groups aren’t
BP News

Ex-Wife Applauds Guilty Verdict

of hope pervades Boston
pro-life rally
The Pilot

Drug Ellaone Billed as Better Morning After Pill, But It Causes Abortions

Is NOW So Afraid of a
Pro-Life, Pro-Family Ad?

real meaning of Tim Tebow’s
pro-life Super Bowl ad.

Group: Scott Roeder Promoted Violence on Abortion, Not

group clarifies why it does not support referendum on abortion in Spain
Catholic News Agency

Bishop Sartain: “To be Catholic Means to be

for the defense


Rights Groups Beg Obama Not to Cut
Family Planning
U.S. News & World Report

Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement
Washington Post

Analysis Abortion

Legislators Have Introduced 445 Provisions to Restrict Abortion So Far This Year

Elizabeth Nash & Rachel Benson Gold

So far this year, legislators have introduced 1,256 provisions relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights. However, states have also enacted 22 measures this year designed to expand access to reproductive health services or protect reproductive rights.

So far this year, legislators have introduced 1,256 provisions relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Of these, 35 percent (445 provisions) sought to restrict access to abortion services. By midyear, 17 states had passed 46 new abortion restrictions.

Including these new restrictions, states have adopted 334 abortion restrictions since 2010, constituting 30 percent of all abortion restrictions enacted by states since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973. However, states have also enacted 22 measures this year designed to expand access to reproductive health services or protect reproductive rights.

Mid year state restrictions


Signs of Progress

The first half of the year ended on a high note, with the U.S. Supreme Court handing down the most significant abortion decision in a generation. The Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt struck down abortion restrictions in Texas requiring abortion facilities in the state to convert to the equivalent of ambulatory surgical centers and mandating that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital; these two restrictions had greatly diminished access to services throughout the state (see Lessons from Texas: Widespread Consequences of Assaults on Abortion Access). Five other states (Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia) have similar facility requirements, and the Texas decision makes it less likely that these laws would be able to withstand judicial scrutiny (see Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers). Nineteen other states have abortion facility requirements that are less onerous than the ones in Texas; the fate of these laws in the wake of the Court’s decision remains unclear. 

Ten states in addition to Texas had adopted hospital admitting privileges requirements. The day after handing down the Texas decision, the Court declined to review lower court decisions that have kept such requirements in Mississippi and Wisconsin from going into effect, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) announced that he would not enforce the state’s law. As a result of separate litigation, enforcement of admitting privileges requirements in Kansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma is currently blocked. That leaves admitting privileges in effect in Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee and Utah; as with facility requirements, the Texas decision will clearly make it harder for these laws to survive if challenged.

More broadly, the Court’s decision clarified the legal standard for evaluating abortion restrictions. In its 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Court had said that abortion restrictions could not impose an undue burden on a woman seeking to terminate her pregnancy. In Whole Woman’s Health, the Court stressed the importance of using evidence to evaluate the extent to which an abortion restriction imposes a burden on women, and made clear that a restriction’s burdens cannot outweigh its benefits, an analysis that will give the Texas decision a reach well beyond the specific restrictions at issue in the case.

As important as the Whole Woman’s Health decision is and will be going forward, it is far from the only good news so far this year. Legislators in 19 states introduced a bevy of measures aimed at expanding insurance coverage for contraceptive services. In 13 of these states, the proposed measures seek to bolster the existing federal contraceptive coverage requirement by, for example, requiring coverage of all U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved methods and banning the use of techniques such as medical management and prior authorization, through which insurers may limit coverage. But some proposals go further and plow new ground by mandating coverage of sterilization (generally for both men and women), allowing a woman to obtain an extended supply of her contraceptive method (generally up to 12 months), and/or requiring that insurance cover over-the-counter contraceptive methods. By July 1, both Maryland and Vermont had enacted comprehensive measures, and similar legislation was pending before Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). And, in early July, Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a measure into law allowing women to obtain a year’s supply of their contraceptive method.


But the Assault Continues

Even as these positive developments unfolded, the long-standing assault on sexual and reproductive health and rights continued apace. Much of this attention focused on the release a year ago of a string of deceptively edited videos designed to discredit Planned Parenthood. The campaign these videos spawned initially focused on defunding Planned Parenthood and has grown into an effort to defund family planning providers more broadly, especially those who have any connection to abortion services. Since last July, 24 states have moved to restrict eligibility for funding in several ways:

  • Seventeen states have moved to limit family planning providers’ eligibility for reimbursement under Medicaid, the program that accounts for about three-fourths of all public dollars spent on family planning. In some cases, states have tried to exclude Planned Parenthood entirely from such funding. These attacks have come via both administrative and legislative means. For instance, the Florida legislature included a defunding provision in an omnibus abortion bill passed in March. As the controversy grew, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that administers Medicaid, sent a letter to state officials reiterating that federal law prohibits them from discriminating against family planning providers because they either offer abortion services or are affiliated with an abortion provider (see CMS Provides New Clarity For Family Planning Under Medicaid). Most of these state attempts have been blocked through legal challenges. However, a funding ban went into effect in Mississippi on July 1, and similar measures are awaiting implementation in three other states.
  • Fourteen states have moved to restrict family planning funds controlled by the state, with laws enacted in four states. The law in Kansas limits funding to publicly run programs, while the law in Louisiana bars funding to providers who are associated with abortion services. A law enacted in Wisconsin directs the state to apply for federal Title X funding and specifies that if this funding is obtained, it may not be distributed to family planning providers affiliated with abortion services. (In 2015, New Hampshire moved to deny Title X funds to Planned Parenthood affiliates; the state reversed the decision in 2016.) Finally, the budget adopted in Michigan reenacts a provision that bars the allocation of family planning funds to organizations associated with abortion. Notably, however, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) vetoed a similar measure.
  • Ten states have attempted to bar family planning providers’ eligibility for related funding, including monies for sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, prevention of interpersonal violence, and prevention of breast and cervical cancer. In three of these states, the bans are the result of legislative action; in Utah, the ban resulted from action by the governor. Such a ban is in effect in North Carolina; the Louisiana measure is set to go into effect in August. Implementation of bans in Ohio and Utah has been blocked as a result of legal action.


The first half of 2016 was also noteworthy for a raft of attempts to ban some or all abortions. These measures fell into four distinct categories:

  • By the end of June, four states enacted legislation to ban the most common method used to perform abortions during the second trimester. The Mississippi and West Virginia laws are in effect; the other two have been challenged in court. (Similar provisions enacted last year in Kansas and Oklahoma are also blocked pending legal action.)
  • South Carolina and North Dakota both enacted measures banning abortion at or beyond 20 weeks post-fertilization, which is equivalent to 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. This brings to 16 the number of states with these laws in effect (see State Policies on Later Abortions).
  • Indiana and Louisiana adopted provisions banning abortions under specific circumstances. The Louisiana law banned abortions at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization in cases of diagnosed genetic anomaly; the law is slated to go into effect on August 1. Indiana adopted a groundbreaking measure to ban abortion for purposes of race or sex selection, in cases of a genetic anomaly, or because of the fetus’ “color, national origin, or ancestry”; enforcement of the measure is blocked pending the outcome of a legal challenge.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) vetoed a sweeping measure that would have banned all abortions except those necessary to protect the woman’s life.


In addition, 14 states (Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah) enacted other types of abortion restrictions during the first half of the year, including measures to impose or extend waiting periods, restrict access to medication abortion, and establish regulations on abortion clinics.

Zohra Ansari-Thomas, Olivia Cappello, and Lizamarie Mohammed all contributed to this analysis.

News Politics

Rep. Steve King: What Have People Of Color Contributed to Civilization?

Ally Boguhn

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday questioned what “contributions” people of color have made to civilization while appearing on an MSNBC panel during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

King’s comments came during a discussion on racial diversity within the Republican Party in which fellow panelist Charles P. Pierce said, “If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”

“That [convention] hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people,” Pierce added.

“This ‘old white people’ business though does get a little tired, Charlie,” King responded. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

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“Than white people,” Hayes attempted to clarify.

“Than Western civilization itself,” King said. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

Another panelist, reporter April Ryan, countered “What about Asia? What about Africa?” before the panel broke out into disarray. Hayes moved to cut off the group, telling them, “We’re not going to argue the history of civilization.”

“Let me note for the record that if you’re looking at the ledger of Western civilization, for every flourishing democracy you’ve got Hitler and Stalin as well,” Hayes said. “So there’s a lot on both sides.”

Hayes justified abruptly ending the conversation about King’s comments in a series of tweets, saying that he had been “pretty taken aback by” the comments.

“The entire notion of debating which race/civilization/ ‘sub group’ contributed most or is best is as odious as it is preposterous,” Hayes tweeted. “Which is why I said ‘we’re not debating this here.’ But I hear people who think I made the wrong call in the moment. Maybe I did.”

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk. King, speaking with Iowa talk radio host Jeff Angelo, defended keeping the flag in his office.

“This is a free country and there’s freedom of speech,” King said, according to Right Wing Watch. “And, by the way, I’d encourage people to go back and read the real history of the Civil War and find out what it was about. A small part of it was about slavery, but there was a big part of it that was about states’ rights, it was about people that defended their homeland and fought next to their neighbors and their family.”

As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump explained in a report on King’s comments, “there have been a great number of non-white contributions to human civilization.”

“Civilization first arose in cities in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq and Syria. Arabic and Middle Eastern inventors and scientists brought astronomy to the world, which in turn aided innovations in navigation,” Bump wrote. “Critical innovations in mathematics and architecture originated in the same area. The Chinese contributed philosophical precepts and early monetary systems, among other things. The specific inventions that were created outside of the Western world are too many to list: the seismograph, the umbrella, gunpowder, stirrups, the compass.”