Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ideology 101: "Kids are going to do it anyway."

By Tom Prichard

Last session, Rep. Mindy Greiling and others tried to mandate that all Minnesota public schools teach a pro-contraceptive message to kids ages 12 to 17. They have accepted the ideology that kids are going to have sex whatever we say, so they better be prepared. Is this accurate or more ideology?

When I talked with several state legislators about our opposition on condom promotion in sex education courses, they invariably came back with "Well, I think abstinence is important but kids are going to have sex whatever you tell them so we better teach them how to use a condom."

This ideology invariably does our children a serious disservice. For one, it sends them mixed a message; abstinence is good, but if you have sex use a condom. It’s like telling kids not to smoke but if they do use filtered cigarettes.

It also gives kids a false sense of security. They can have safe sex by using a condom. They’ll be protected from diseases. In fact, there are sexually transmitted diseases which are spread through non-sexual intercourse contact. And condoms often fail. Some studies show condom failure rates for pregnancy prevention are 15%.

But beyond the physical risks of pregnancy and disease, they fail to tell kids there is an unhealthy emotional cost to sex outside of marriage. Low self esteem and guilt are too often accompanied by depression, suicidal thoughts, and engagement in other destructive behaviors like smoking, drinking and drugs.

Not surprisingly, most kids regret not waiting. One survey found two thirds of teens wished they’d waited to have sex.

Unfortunately, too many adults fail our kids when they advocate a pro-condom ideology to kids.

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