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
Assault on Ron Paul Lew
in America: Extremes and excesses Seattle Post Intelligencer
Shifts on Global Health Wall Street Journal
adoption option Washington
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… Omaha
the Stupid Sex, Stupid Daily Kos
Ed in Washington New
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 New
group promises to help teens obtain abortions in Mexico City Catholic News Agency
is "Pro Choice,"
Why the Controversy over Tim Tebow Ad?
Sex ed, birth control and
touts personhood amendment Billings Gazette
care system costs not just dollars, but lives Cumberland Times-News
kept in care to save adoption cost The Guardian
January 29, 2010
foes feel betrayed Omaha
Considers if Abortion
Slaying Was Murder Wall
House panel supports pre-abortion ultrasound access Salt Lake Tribune
Rights Watch condemns Irish ban on abortion Catholic Culture
better choice for emergency contraception? The Guardian
more varied than you might think Los Angeles Times
Stand up. The
embarrassment of musical riches in LA tonight Los Angeles Times
group clarifies why it does not support referendum on abortion in Spain Catholic News Agency
for the defense Augusta
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