The Flip Side Of "Abstinence Only"
Nicholas Kristof has it right:
I'm sorry to report a sex scandal in the heart of the Bush administration. Worse, it doesn't involve private behavior, but public conduct.
You see, for all the carnage in President Bush's budget, one program is being showered with additional cash - almost three times as much as it got in 2001. It's "abstinence only" sex education, and the best research suggests that it will cost far more lives than the Clinton administration's much more notorious sex scandal.
Mr. Bush means well. But "abstinence only" is a misnomer that in practice is an assault on sex education itself. There's a good deal of evidence that the result will not be more young rosy-cheeked virgins - it will be more pregnancies, abortions, gonorrhea and deaths from AIDS.
Look, I'm all for abstinence education. I support the booming abstinence industry as it peddles panties and boxers decorated with stop signs (at www.abstinence.net), and "Pet Your Dog, Not Your Date" T-shirts.
Abstinence education is great because it helps counteract the peer pressure that often leaves teenagers with broken hearts - and broken health.
For that reason, almost all sex-ed classes in America already encourage abstinence. But abstinence-only education isn't primarily about promoting abstinence - it's about blindly refusing to teach contraception.
To get federal funds, for example, abstinence-only programs are typically barred by law from discussing condoms or other forms of contraception - except to describe how they can fail. So kids in these programs go all through high school without learning anything but abstinence, even though more than 60 percent of American teenagers have sex before age 18.
Posted by aalkon at February 18, 2005 7:44 AM
Having a number of really great dogs I'm all for petting them. Of course I might be tempted to pet the right date too.
Posted by: Sheryl at February 18, 2005 5:27 PM