How about abstaining from opening your mouth?

Yesterday, a parade of public health experts told Congress that abstinence-only education doesn’t work and shouldn’t be funded.

In response, Rep. John Duncan replied “that it seems ‘rather elitist’ that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate.”

Yeah, those elitists with their fancy degrees in actually knowing about stuff should back off and let parents have their say! And what do parents say? According to one poll, only 30% of American adults agree with the statement “the federal government should fund sex education programs that have ‘abstaining from sexual activity’ as their only purpose.” In contrast, 67% of adults agree with the statement “the money should be used to fund more comprehensive sex education programs that include information on how to obtain and use condoms and other contraceptives.”

Um, but that’s all adults. And they’re probably counting liberal college students. What about actual parents with kids in school. That’s right, “95% of parents of junior high school students and 93% of parents of high school students believe that birth control and other methods of preventing pregnancy are appropriate topics for sexuality education programs in schools.”

Still, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, issued a statement calling yesterday’s hearings “biased” and a “sham.” Also yesterday, Perkins issued a statement calling Earth Day “a calculated attack on the sanctity of human life,” adding that “the crisis du jour is global warming, but even that is just another excuse to fund ‘Planet’ Parenthood and similar groups.” So he seems like a level-headed individual.

That last link is via Utne Reader, which also has an excerpt from a new book that may be of some interest, I Want to Be Left Behind.


3 Comments

I hear/read a number of opinions bemoaning the advocacy of abstinence-only education. I’m not sure the other types of sex education (from the infamous banana condom example or anything else) has any real claim to “success” in the terms which are implied here.

Do ‘experts’ have statistics on something that *does work* ? Just asking.

How about this? How about the idea in a quote from Ghandi that I posted today? In this case, that parents might know the best way to teach their kids to do the right thing for their sexual health and emotional well-being? No, it doesn’t always work because humans don’t always do the right thing. But shouldn’t we teach what the right thing is? Delaying sexual activity at least until emotional maturity has a chance to catch up the decision making ability? Isn’t that part of complete information on the topic?

I may be wrong, but the contention seems to be over whether to include abstinence as a viable mode of dealing with things like teen pregnancy and std’s. Am I wrong? Not whether there should be
“comprehensive sex education programs that include information on how to obtain and use condoms and other contraceptives.”

To give my own opinion I think that developing self-discipline is a key answer to the entire situation more than how-to techniques on condoms. After all, what good does the condom in the drawer do? We simplistically approach these things and then wonder about the high level of failure.


My wife who used to work in the public shcool system for some 15 years affirms that most parents dont want to be bothered with teaching thier children about sexuality and therefore it should be the responsibility of the public schools. In fact, she notes, parents get angry when they believe the school is falling down on the job in this area. What the school teaches really matters little to such parents, she asserts, as long as they are taught something.

On another note, according to most statistics I am aquainted with, somewhere near half of the 95%+ who approve of any and all methods of sex education are professing Christians - from the conservative side of the fence this appears to be another confirmation of Christians caving into the culture.

No, Ilona, the controversy is about abstinence ONLY versus abstinence plus condoms, etc.

There are plenty of studies showing abstinence-only teaching, which the Bush administration has spent hundreds of millions to subsidize, as inferior to traditional sex education classes. Google is your friend.

2008 Daniel Radosh    Design: Pat Broderick     Programming: Kevin Shay