Alex Blaze

Abstinence-only education makes little sense, the politics of it make even less

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 08, 2007 8:38 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: abstinence only education, comprehensive sex education, Democrats

The Democrats caved on this one. The House Labor-Human Services subcommittee just approved an increase in funding for federal abstinence-only programs to the tune of $27.8 million. The CQ reported the other day that House Democrats wanted the bill to sail through Congress:

Lawmakers say the olive branch extended to Republicans increases the likelihood that the bill will pass the House with a veto-proof majority. It also sends a strong signal that Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., will avoid controversial social policy changes this year in the interest of moving bills.
The rest of the bill increases funding for contraception and family planning services. Isn't it ironic that the services are getting more federal dollars, but the education dollars are going to programs that don't tell kids about them? One would think that contraception was some sort of secret.

There have been enough studies saying that abstinence-only education doesn't work to know that this is harmful to youth. But just because they can't stand up to a president with a 32% approval rating, House Democrats are putting straight teens at risk with this miseducation and throwing same-sex loving teens under the bus. Seriously, could you imagine going into a bathhouse and seeing a poster telling the boys that condoms are ineffective? Or a banner ad on telling users about non-sexual alternatives to hooking up, like meeting a random guy on the internet and inviting him over to bake cookies? Or a lesbian bar with a stack of pamphlets in the restroom that tell women to save their virginity as a gift for their future husbands?

Abstinence-only education is around solely because some adults are uncomfortable talking about sex in front of children and hope that public schools can somehow overcome the force that has populated the planet with over six billion people. But until we stop being so uncomfortable about the topic that everyone's talking about, our youth (and adults, for that matter) will continue to suffer the consequences of ignorance.

Do you want even more irony? The Senate has introduced a bipartisan bill to lift the global gag order, making it legal to use the third of PEPFAR funds devoted to abstinence education for comprehensive sex education in Africa. Yeah, so here's the score card:

  • Africans learning about contraception: WUNDERBAR
  • Americans getting more access to contaception: WUNDERBAR
  • Americans learning about contraception: EVIL EVIL EVIL
Am I missing something here? I think I need to sent this one in to Al Scaduto.

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Wilson46201 | June 8, 2007 8:54 AM

Elsewhere, I read that some of your concerns may be misdirected about this bill. The bill does indeed state that abstinence is the preferred sexual activity for teenagers but also includes information on contraception as well as 'alternative lifestyles'. It's not an abstinence only bill!

Abstinence-only scams are dangerous because they are designed by the Christian Right to promote the spread of HIV among people who are sexually active. Any spending for these misinformation programs should be avoided.

This is yet another reason why I'm voting mostly Green in the 2008 general election.