I received a text message the other night from a friend whom informs me that she has just learned; from her son, he was instructed to sit through a sex education presentation at his school.
My first thought is great, I fully support giving kids the information and facts around sex education. The more you know the easier it is to make reasonable and rational decisions when the time comes.
Now for the punch line. This was an abstinence only program.
I then asked if there was a notification sent to parents prior to this “presentation”. My friend informed me that she had not seen any such permission slip or request or letter announcing this would be taking place. To be perfectly clear, I would not stop my child from attending such a presentation, I would simply provide them with all the facts ahead of time and then follow up afterwards with questions and answers. I want my children to be fully informed and educated on all points of information, especially the false points so they may recognize them in the future.
As most of you know I tend to lean toward rational, logical, and reasonable approaches to knowledge, and information. I of course disregard or am suspicious of information that does not have any supporting evidence for a claim. We (society) know from the facts and studies conducted that abstinence only programs fail to achieve what they are designed to do. (stop children or young adults from engaging in sex) they are, in my opinion blatantly putting our youth in danger because they refuse to even acknowledge factually sex education information regarding how one may protect one’s self from sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies.
This seriously makes me nocuous to think someone would intentionally withhold information from someone that could potentially help protect them or prevent something that could be devastating to our youth and their families.
Obama is the first president in over a decade to say that we must teach our children the facts about their bodies and the options they have should they choose to be sexually active; Obama-as usual-is right on the mark.
From one of the websites…
“Aim For Success: America's largest provider of sexual abstinence programs.
Aim For Success is an independent, non-profit, educational organization that promotes a lifestyle of excellence by encouraging the development of self control, self respect, and self discipline. Through live presentations students are encouraged to develop strong, responsible character as they deal with sexual pressure.
Through Aim For Success presentations, students learn the wisdom of committing to be sexually abstinent until marriage. Parents are inspired to raise responsible children who know their choices have consequences. Teachers receive creative ideas on how to implement the abstinence message into their classrooms.”
So let’s be perfectly clear on what the facts are and how reality works in our children's lives.
Studies published in a special issue of the online journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy by the University of California Press reveal that abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs fail to change sexual behavior in teenagers, provide inaccurate information about condoms, and violate human rights principles.
In sum, the articles show that abstinence-only programs contain medical inaccuracies, fail to help young people to change behavior, and conflict with ethical standards. Abstinence-only programs violate young people's right to accurate information—and also teachers' and health educators' rights to answer questions and provide medically accurate information. Many states have now refused to participate in the federal program (25 states as of August 2008) citing concerns about efficacy and accuracy of abstinence-only programs. The federal program provides funding for abstinence-only education and restricts information about contraception and other aspects of human sexuality.
If you have children, I would strongly suggest reading the full report
Texas and her conservative social order
Normally I would say beware if your child’s school district is teaching something that doesn’t use the most current information or is based on something completely ridiculous like teaching intelligent design in science class. But this… this is down right malice and harmful to our children.
In his book, America’s War on Sex, Marty Klein agrees that Abstinence Only programs don’t protect kids from disease, pregnancy, or broken hearts. That’s because they aren’t effective at postponing sexual involvement or at making kids safer when they do have sex…so abstinence programs don’t help kids.
But they do benefit adults—both emotionally and financially. “Abstinence programs help [adults] convince themselves that kids are less sexual than they really are. They get to maintain the illusion that kids aren’t doing it, are going to stop doing it, or aren’t going to start.” It makes some parents feel better to say that because my child doesn’t know about condom use, birth control or STI’s, they won’t be sexual.
And it is this emotional cowardice and flagrant dismissal of the parental responsibility that seriously gets under my skin.
This is a horrible false logic that screams at us when you look at the statistics:
- In 2001, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy published a review called Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy. It concluded that “the evidence is not conclusive about the impact of abstinence-only programs,” and that “there do not currently exist any abstinence-only programs with reasonably strong evidence that they actually delay the initiation of sex or reduce its frequency.”
- In 2005, The Journal of Adolescent Health found that teens who pledge abstinence until marriage are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not had intercourse.
- In 2007, a long awaited, federally mandated study that began in 1997 concluded that abstinence only programs do not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.
- Of late, many states have begun to reject federal funding for abstinence only programs, or create a hybrid version that allows for full sex education
Grow up and take responsibility
You know and the youth of our nation know that sex is one of the most wonderful things on this planet. They see it in ads they see it on television and in movies. They talk about it with their friends and they hear some of the most absurd stories about it that you could imagine.
Our youth are a lot smarter than most people give the credit for. Having a conversation with your children about sex and the responsibilities of engaging in the activity is not only the right thing to do it is the ONLY thing to do. Talk your kids, they need to understand the responsibilities and the consequences of their decisions regarding decisions to have sex.
Lastly, talk to your school administrators, and leaders. Tell them you do not want abstinence only curriculums to be presented as the primary source of sex education in your schools.