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Alternate Takes on Abstinence-Only Education

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Let’s give “Fatherhood” and “Healthy Marriage” initiatives a break.  I have almost 5 minutes left to get some valuable, but fun, information out, and went looking for the history of the Abstinence Education idea. 

Abstinence Education – Let’s talk about sex

Aside from invading Iraq, one of George W. Bush’s favorite pet projects is pushing what is called abstinence-only education. According to Bush, the best way
irregulartimes.com/abstinenceed.html – CachedSimilar

 

This is from The Irregular Times (and uses the word “sex” about 3 times per sentence.  Enjoy — I’m sure you will, it’s LOGICAL).  If you pay taxes, I JUST want you to know the caliber of decision making that comes down from “on high” and sometimes even survives from one administration to another, kind of like a perpetual motion machine.  Bad Ideas are like fungi — they spread in the dark, do a lot of damage, and are kind of hard to deal with. . . . .

Abstinence-only education is founded upon the assumption that giving teenagers complete and accurate information about sex is dangerous. This foundation of George W. Bush’s abstinence agenda goes a long way in explaining the Republican animosity towards education in general. In abstinence-only education we see that Bush and his Republican supporters believe that knowledge is dangerous, and should be kept from people as much as possible. What George W. Bush never mentions is that the alternative to abstinence-only education is not some kind of hippy free love seminar in public schools. The medical community and responsible educational organizations promote an alternative called abstinence-plus. You won’t hear conservatives talking about this approach because it makes a lot of sense, and it’s easier for conservatives to sell abstinence-only programs when they’re able to keep parents frightened about unrestrained adolescent promiscuity. Abstinence-plus includes a strong component of information about the reasons that abstaining from sex can be an extremely wise choice for teenagers. The difference is that abstinence-plus does more than just tell teenagers not to have sex. Abstinence-plus programs also provide access to full and accurate information about sex, so that students can make intelligent decisions about having sex instead of remaining in the dark until it’s too late. It’s essential for public schools to provide students with complete sex education because if students don’t get their education at school, they’ll search for accurate information elsewhere. In a shocking display of naivete, George W. Bush and his Republican supporters suggest that teenagers would have sex less if only public schools did not let them know that sex exists. They ignore the fact that almost all American teenagers are skilled users of the Internet, which has plenty of information, both accurate and inaccurate. It’s the job of public schools to cut through the clutter of publicly available information, and provide an accurate presentation of it for their students. When George W. Bush insists that American public schools only be allowed to teach students about the reasons people should not have sex, he is performing a monumentally perverse act of academic censorship. That not only fails teenagers’ need for serious honesty about sex, it fails their need for an example of democratic principles in action. All other points aside, George W. Bush’s anti-education agenda is a dangerous idea because research shows that abstinence-only education just doesn’t work. Not too surprisingly, researchers have found that when teenagers sign pledge forms in front of their parents, promising not to have sex, they’re not really very likely to follow through. In fact, students who sign pledge forms as a part of sexual abstinence training are just as likely to have premarital sex as other students! The same is true of the students in abstinence-only programs in general. Full sexual education, on the other hand, has been shown not to act as an encouragement for students to have sex, and is shown to provide students protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases better than abstinence-only education does. The Bush Administration knows that abstinence-only education does not work at decreasing adolescent sexual behaviors, and actually increases students’ risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. That’s why George W. Bush ordered that all behavioral standards for evaluating the success of abstinence-only educational programs be eliminated. He didn’t want to the government to gather information that he knew would show abstinence-only education to be a complete failure. The ultimate irony is that George W. Bush is pushing abstinence-only education at the same time that he is pushing for governmental programs to be performed by religious organizations. So, Bush’s plan includes promotion of taxpayer funding of abstinence-only programs by, among other groups, the Catholic Church. Given the scandal in the Catholic Church about long term and pervasive sexual assault of children by priests, this plan seems not only doomed to failure, but actually quite dangerous. After all, the Catholic Church, like other major religious institutions, appears to have been unable to convince its own leaders to stop having sex with children. How, then, are we supposed to believe that the Catholic Church is deserving of government grants in order to teach teenagers not to have sex with each other?

(of course, WITH paragraphs, in the original).

Written by Let's Get Honest

January 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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