Sex Education the people who harm our children

Birth Rates by StateI 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.

Starting with the Adolescent Family Life Act of 1982, conservative Christians have been able to push through an agenda that has crippled sex education in America.

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.

Thankfully President Obama has cut funding for these types of programs and restored the rational approach to education that will actually teach our children something of value.

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.



1 comment:

Greg said...

Chad, thank you for the pdf reference. I read several pages, specifically focusing on the referenced research studies. I am not promoting ignorance, in any form. At the same time, I have no interest in a school teacher, administrator, or consultant telling my kids that condoms are effective against pregnancy or STD's. They simply are not effective. Both my brother, and his own first child (a boy), are the direct result of ruptured condoms. Maybe it's genetics :-)
In any other context than a state-sanctioned school setting, what these adults are engaging in with minors could be construed as illegal and pornographic.
Pro-condom activists frequently fall on a tautology to disprove the effectiveness of abstinence. Of course learning about abstinence and practicing it are two different things.
Let's apply the same logic to the teaching of condoms, and ascribe their effectiveness based on the total population that has been instructed in their use? No, that would be intellectually dishonest.
School employees have no stake in the matter, ultimately. They could care less if this human or that one has a pre-marriage sexual encounter. Some, I have witnessed, actively encourage sexual encounters amongst young people.
Now you got me going! LOL.

All humans make mistakes in judgment - do things they will later regret. Abstinence works every time it is used. (I realize that is a large caveat). Peace!

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About Me

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Houston, TX, United States
I live in Houston Texas, married to my best friend with two wonderful kids (both teenagers). I enjoy philosophy, psychology, theism – atheism, quantum computing. I work in the technology industry with focus on energy and computer theory. I love to engage in discussions of rationality, logic, and reasonability.


Growing Up…
I had a great childhood. I had loving parents and a very easy life. I never wanted for anything. So I was never “mad at god”. I did have a lot of physical problems as a child but I never “blamed” them on anyone or anything. I was just born that way. I believe my parents were “religious” because of my physical birth defects. Because of these defects I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child. Several times I was close to death. I believe this had a lot of influence on my parent’s belief system.

I have lost friends and family, I have experienced hardships. But that is just life as it happens. I did not have a great first marriage, but I did have two great kids come out of it. I am now married to the most wonderful woman on the planet and am very happy. For the most part life is good. Some have even told me that I have never “found god” because I have never truly suffered in life. That argument doesn’t hold water, but is interesting.

I begin questioning my Christian upbringing about age 10. I was asking questions and wasn’t getting satisfactory answers. I was raised in a small town in east Texas; this does not provide a whole lot of exposure to other religions. As I aged and begin to learn more I found it interesting that there were and had been so many religions and gods throughout the history of man. I begin to question why some believed in one god while others believed in theirs. I wondered how anyone could prove, or at the very least have some level of confidence they were worshiping the “right” god.

I can’t say I ever lost my faith. I never really had any. When I was young of course I didn’t know I was an Atheist. I just didn’t believe what everyone else was telling me. With my friends it never really came up that “I’m an Atheist”. When I told my mother I didn’t believe in god she just dismissed it as something I was going through. My father was indifferent to my proclamation. My closest friend is Jewish. I try my best to honor his belief system and he reciprocates.

Focusing Thoughts…
Once I realized that there were so many different religions it just seemed clear to me that none of them were real. Then I learned that there was a name for what I believed and it is called Atheism. Once I found others who believed as I did I begin to learn more about the religions and how they controlled so much of our lives. I wanted to know as much as I could about all of them. I even wrote an anthology paper in collage on how everyone could be worshiping the same god, just using different names.

I find it extremely easy and comforting to be an Atheist. Life is very simple, and so much less complicated. I follow simple rules for living; be nice to all living creatures, and the earth. Don’t think that you are better than anything or anyone else. I don’t think this is an original way of thinking or living but I don’t subscribe to it because it is part of some other philosophy, it simply feels like the “right” way to live.

I do tend to “pick on” Christianity more than other religions simply because it is the one that is most prevalent and intrusive in my life. While I think extremist or radicals in any religion are responsible for a large majority of the damage done to humanity, I also believe anyone who follows that religious teaching is responsible. You are responsible because you do not get to pick and chose which part of a religion you want to follow. Saying that you are against gay marriage while you are eating a bacon sandwich just doesn’t cut it with me. (If you don’t understand that last sentence look up the Christian bible and refer to the book of Leviticus.) If you only pick out the parts of a religion you want to follow you have just created a new religion.

I do make it evident in my life that I am an Atheist. I have a bumper sticker on my vehicle, I have sayings and quotes around my desk at work or around my house. I do this to let others know who they are approaching if they want to engage me in conversation or wish to ask questions. Just as others put “fish” on their vehicle or place religions symbols around their house.

Why am I an atheist? Because I ask questions and ask for the answers to be empirically evident. I consider my self to be a rationalist. I do not believe in faith, nor do I believe in statements like “we can not comprehend.” Do I have all the answers to life’s questions? Well of course not. It just means that we don’t have all the answers. I also believe that when we die, we just die. We are no different that any other living organism in the universe Wow is it really that simple? Yes it really is that simple. We just keep investigating the world around us as we have done throughout history. I have enough answers to get me through this thing called life. I will enjoy it while I am here and try to help those I care to help along the way. I will do so based on a moral compass in my heart, not one dictated by a religion.

Have a great day