"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Darstar218 On "Abstinence Only" Sexual Education

Hi Tim

Thanks for your extremely interesting post...

Congresswoman Lee did not say that it is not an option to abstain from sex. Re-read the report of her words in context. She said that it is irresponsible to insist that abstinence is the *only* option.

The facts are that STD and teen/unwanted pregnancy rates are *substantially* higher in areas where sexual education is based on "abstinence only" policies compared to where it contains instruction on proper condom use. HIV rates in parts of Africa, for example, are utterly horrific.

"Abstinence Only" places the "evil" of people not abstaining for sex as the be-all-and-end-all of policy over the "evil" of STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

"Abstinence Only" policies are based *solely* on religious dogma. They ignore the realities (a) that people have sex whether policy makers like it or not; and that (b) *proper* condom use substantially reduces the risks associated with sex - even sex that you might not approve of.

That is why "Abstinence Only" policies are immoral and *wrong*.

If you wish to promote "Abstinence" in sexual education, then fair enough, but it is ludicrous to suggest that abstinence is the *only* option.

You write: "The reason abstinence only programs have not been entirely effective is because we are not teaching them exclusively." Well, until or unless you can not only (a) remove "sex" from our culture; but also (b) prove that such a removal does indeed lead to increased rates of abstinence; abstinence only programs remain outrageously irresponsible.

You write: "I think [Lee] believes we’re a bunch of animals driven by our instincts and urges and have completely lost all self control. I give human beings more credit than she does." The reality of the statistics resulting from abstinence only programs show that your assessment is incorrect.

I totally agree that it is best for children to be brought up by two parents... But remember the USA has a huge divorce rate, with Born Again Christian being especially likely to get divorced. What would you do? Ban sex from our culture? Ban divorce?

For the record, I do not consider that (properly regulated) abortion is that much of an "evil". As many as one in two pregnancies end in miscarriages naturally. I personally think that public policy should be aimed at reducing the number of abortions through proper sexual education... (And we in the UK don't worship the Queen ;>)

Best wishes


See this discussion in full on Darkstar218's weblog

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