Abstinence education: like intelligent design, teaching abstinence in place of sex education is the Christian right’s way of injecting religion into our education system. They promote abstinence as the only true way to avoid pregnancy and STDs and the ultimate evil, abortion. And you know what, they’re right.
But just like communism and all the other ideas that sound good on paper, reality has a funny way of proving how wrong you really are. Abstinence-only education is no exception.
Anyone who has ever been a teenager or currently is one, knows full well that the idea of abstinence is about as realistic as jumping from here to the moon in a single bound. Bodies are primed and ready, hormones are going crazy and the urge to merge is flying right in the face of society’s man-made age of consent and social mores. We want to protect our children, so what’s the best way to do that? Is it to tell them simply, just say no and that’s final? I suppose this is the sexual equivalent of “because I’m your mother and I say so”.
Is that simple prohibition enough to override the forces of nature, peer pressure, human curiosity and the first feelings of love and attraction? Let’s take a look.
As expected, the answer is no. A study in the American Journal of Health Behavior was conducted to analyze the sexual behavior of more than 2000 students in the Cleveland area. Researchers led by Elaine A. Borawski, Ph.D., in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, found that after going through the program, teens reported significant increases in their HIV/STD knowledge, their personal beliefs about the importance of abstinence and their intentions to remain abstinent in the near future.
That sounds nice.
But the program did not affect students’ confidence to avoid risky sexual situations, and sexually inexperienced and female students actually reported a decrease in their intent to use condoms in the future.
In the end, the study showed that abstinence-only education had NO effect in preventing teens from becoming sexually active.
This evaluation reveals that abstinence-only intervention can influence knowledge, beliefs and intentions…” Borawski said, adding that the intent of teens to reduce their condom use merits further study to determine long-term implications.
Well let’s see what those implications may be.
Just south of Cleveland, in Canton, OH there is another school that preaches and teaches an abstinence-only sex education program. I wonder how that turned out. Thirteen percent of the female students at Timken Senior High School in Ohio are pregnant.
Wow. I guess they could have used those condoms over there.
The statistic at the school in the heart of this old steel city contrasts with a decade of declining teen pregnancy rates nationwide.
I wonder what could have happened.
“Joanne Hinton, whose 16-year-old daughter, Raechel Hinton, is eight months pregnant, said she believes the school’s abstinence-based sex education program isn’t enough.”
“It’s time to take the blinders off and realize that these kids are having sex,” she said. “Obviously, abstinence is not working. If we have to, just give them condoms.”
Last school year, both high schools in the city’s district reported 55 pregnancies. Ninety-nine pregnancies are expected in the district this year, most of them at Timken, where expecting students get six weeks of maternity leave.
WOW! What the heck could be going on over there? Hmmm. Maybe this has something to do with it:
Abstinence-based programs have been growing nationwide at schools over the past few years. In Ohio, the Bush’s administration and the state’s health department have awarded $32 million in grants to Ohio agencies for abstinence education since 2001.
Well, nice work George, I guess that settles it.
Let’s tell our kids not to have sex, even though we know they are going to. Then lets compound our mistake by not giving them the knowledge, tools or support for making smart healthy choices about the sex we already know they are going to have. Then let’s add funding for already cash-strapped schools thanks to ‘no child left behind’ so that we keep promoting the non-reality based ignorance of abstinence-only education.
What’s the result? A total and complete mess. More kids born to single teenage mothers who can now add to the growing roles of people on public assistance programs that are being cut by the same stupid government that helped put those kids there in the first place.
As you may have guessed, I think George Bush is a moron. But I’m starting to reconsider this opinion. All this time I’ve been thinking about things from the perspective of someone who wants to help make this country great. But what if you take a different viewpoint?
How would things change if President Bush woke up one morning in 1999 and said, “What can I do to fuck up this country, not just for 4 or 8 years, but for an entire generation?” If you look at his and his administration’s actions from that perspective, suddenly he looks like a genius. There is no way he could be this successful in that plan through sheer luck and incompetence. It had to be part of a grand scheme. No, I think that George W. Bush is one of the most brilliant tacticians of our age. Bravo!
This article originally appeared on The Rudicus Report.
Additional reporting courtesy of CONNIE MABIN, Associated Press Writer