Over the weekend the Star Tribune ran a story on the Department of Health's decision to not seek federal abstinence funding monies for a state program supported by Planned Parenthood. (That fact alone should raise red flags as to it's bona fides as a true abstinence until marriage program.)
The article by Josephine Marcotty served as an attack piece on abstinence until marriage curricula and message and again shows the liberal media bias against the common sense message, "Wait until you're marriage to have sex."
First, Marcotty uses the language of the left when she describes the abstinence until marriage approach as "abstinence-only" sex education. There's much more to true abstinence education than only abstaining. It's waiting to share the most intimate aspects of oneself with one person, not multi-partners or at one night stands.
Marcotty writes, "At issue is the question of whether adolescents and teenagers should be taught the view embraced by social conservatives -- that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases." What's controversial about that? It's true on its face. Abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and STDs.
She goes on to say "Several recent studies have raised the decibel level in the national debate because they found that abstinence-only programs are ineffective in reducing sexual activity among teenagers and adolescents." She doesn't say which studies those are or the controversial nature of those evaluations. There is plenty of evidence showing the abstinence message works.
Next she says, "In fact, critics of abstinence only education say it's prevalence might be one reason why the long decline in sexual activity among teenagers has stalled since 2001 and why American teens continue to have the highest rates of pregnancy and abortion in the industrialized."
Here she simply regurgitates the charges of contraceptive proponents without any response to the accuracy of these accusations. I would argue the exact opposite is true. The reigning orthodoxy in the sex education industry is condoms, condoms and more condoms. Since the onslaught of the sex revolution in the 60s we've seen an explosion of STDs from a few to a couple of dozen. I suppose she and "critics of abstinence only education" would say that abstinence caused that. In schools kids are inundated with condom messages; the main approach isn't abstinence until marriage but again condoms, condoms and more condoms.
Next she quotes from Michael Resnick, a UM professor who is a big proponent of condom education. He's hopeful we're moving away from the abstinence until marriage approach. "Are we seeing a turnaround in these positive trends because we are seeing the impact of ineffective educational strategies on kids?"
What's interesting about Dr. Resnick is a study he helped write was used as the basis for a monograph on sex education produced by the University of Minnesota in the late 1990s entitled, "Reducing the Risk: Connections That Make a Difference in the Lives of Youth." (The report Resnick helped write "Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health" published in 1997 in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association." A longitudinal study on Adolescent Health published in JAMA in 1997.)
The monograph found that family characteristics that protect teens from early sexual intercourse and pregnancy were "perceived parent disapproval of adolescent sex" and "perceived parent disapproval of adolescent contraception." In other words, Resnick is now promoting activities which directly undermines factors which discourage early sexual intercourse and pregnancy among adolescents.
My comments on the subject, buried in the middle of the article, constituted three paragraphs of the 27 paragraph article.
Marcotty follows my comments by quoting from Bill Smith a vice president for SIECUS, the principal national promoter of comprehensive sex education standards which promote not only contraceptives, but also acceptance of homosexuality and oral and anal sodomy. He was aghast at my suggestion that STDs and emotional damage can happen to folks in their 20s not just teenagers.
Then she concludes with quotes from Brigid Riley, the head of MOAPPP the primary promoter of comprehensive sex ed in the state, and Resnick who said parents want to hear abstinence but also contraceptives.
Interestingly enough, a Zogby poll was done on parents views of the content of comprehensive sex education programs. If found that when parents discovered what's actually in comp sex ed curricula, e.g. promotion of condom use among other things, support drops dramatically.
Comprehensive sex ed advocates engage in a bait and switch approach. They say, "Oh we'll teach abstinence but we'll also information on contraceptives as well." A review of what their comprehensive sex ed curricula by the Heritage Foundation found the comp sex ed curricula actually spent less than 5% of their time on abstinence and zero on marriage. They spent over 600% more time on condom use than abstinence.
The bottom line in this battle over sex ed, abstinence and condoms is a worldview battle. On the one side are those who view sex as a recreational sport and have a pretty much anything goes attitude towards sex -- let's just try and mitigate the consequences through condoms and abortion. On the other side are those who maintain a moral vision of sexual expression within the context of a marriage relationship. History, common sense and morality point to the second approach as best for the individual and society.