Sunday, March 20, 2005

Abstinence education: tough love

While Bush's budget claims to cut "programs that don't work," it rewards at least one program that really doesn't work. Which one is that?

The one that peddles sexual abstinence to teenagers. The one that lies to them that condoms don't prevent sexually transmitted diseases or prevent pregnancy. The one that purveys false information on the risks of abortion and portrays blatant sexist stereotypes. The one that numerous studies has shown is ineffective and a waste of money (Reuters Health):
In one of the latest, conducted by researchers in Bush's home state of Texas and released last month, teenagers in 29 high schools became increasingly sexually active after taking such courses, mirroring overall state trends.
The one that eliminates accurate sex education about contraception and reproductive options:
[Michael McGee of Planned Parenthood] said the abstinence-only movement had had a chilling effect on U.S. classrooms, forcing teachers to stop mentioning contraception in health classes even when the curriculum requires them to do so.
The one that drops all pretense to provide a balance:
"Our program started 11 years ago out of grassroots concern that students were only hearing safe sex messages and didn't even realize that abstinence was an option," [Jimmy Hester, coordinator of True Love Waits, sponsored by Lifeway Christian Resources, a Nashville-based publishing group] said.

Including information about contraception and safe sex just "waters down the message," [Hester] said.
The one that gets an increase in funding from $39 million to $206 million in Bush's budget.

That one.