Abstinence-Only Sex Education STILL Works As Well As Absinthe-Only Sex Education

1 September, 2008

Back in March, I wrote a little piece about the continued ineffectiveness of abstinence-only sex education.  It has proved to be (much to my surprise) my most visited post.  Not because of my brilliant critique (actually, just pointing out the obvious), but because an average of ten people a day arrive at my site by Googling “Absinthe.”  All I was trying to do was point out that telling kids not to have sex works about as well as getting them drunk and telling them not to have sex.  That is to say, none at all.

Anyway, I realized the continued relevance of this post in relation to McAin’t’s ap-Palin pick of Palin to be his Vice President.  Palin is anti-civil rights (no gay marriage, or even domestic partnership), pro-ignorance (allowing opt-outs for parents so their children won’t actually, you know, learn something), anti-choice (all babies must be born, regardless), and heavily favours (to the point of exclusion) abstinence-only sex education.

As has been pointed out again and again, through government studies and academic studies, abstinence-only or abstinence-until-marriage sex education does not work.  The kids still have sex, but are much more likely to be infected with a sexually-transmitted-disease or get pregnant.  Case in point (via Pharyngula):

During her run for the Governorship of Alaska, Sarah Palin was asked: 

Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

 Now (via (gag) Faux News) we find out that:

The 17-year-old unwed daughter of John McCain’s new running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is five-months pregnant, Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, said Monday in a written statement.

The announcement was aimed at killing rumors that Palin’s youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter’s.

Maybe they told her to use the aspirin method.  Good old Republican values. Where was McAin’t five months ago?

This is one of those very annoying political/personal stories.  Part of me says, “Her family has nothing to do with the campaign.”  Another part of me says, “Her support of ignorance has come home to roost and it shows that Palin makes mistakes (big deal, we all do) but is unwilling to learn from her mistakes.”  In other words, she is just like McAin’t.  Palin refuses to face reality, instead using faith to foster her own ignorance (along with her children’s ignorance). 

We already had eight years of faith based government.  Running a country with wishful thinking does not work. It didn’t work for Reagan.  It doesn’t work for W.  And it won’t work if McAin’t and ApPalin are elected.

The absinthe is starting to sound better and better

Two Hour Later Thought:  What if it had been the 17-year-old daughter of a pro-choice, pro-education, pro-reality Democratic candidate?  Do you suppose that Faux News would have treated the story as delicately?



  1. Interesting. The pregnancy speculations have been all over the place — I feel sorry for the kid, but how does anyone defend a policy that she can’t even get to work in her own home?

    There’s a lot of buzz that Palin won’t make it on to the ticket — she’ll either be forced quietly to withdraw or be very publicly pushed away — but I don’t really believe that. The Republicans are so heavily into denial that they’ll turn Palin into another one of their many exceptions to the rules that they want to apply to everyone except them.

  2. Ha ha ha!

    Right on! Seriously- are we in the twilight zone here? Just when I was thinking McCain couldn’t have made a worse decision in choosing this particular running mate, I realize…

    We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  3. You forgot to mention the upside to Bristol’s pregnancy: Sarah Palin will not be able to refer, even obliquely, to abstinence-only sex education.

    If only she had a child who was both gay and in the process of evolving from proto-ape to man, we’d be set.

  4. Nan: For her to either remove herself from the ticket, or be forced off the ticket, would involve the impossible: a Republican politician admitting to a mistake. Then again, they would probably blame the ‘liberal’ press (including Faux News) for making her private life public.

    Chaze77: Welcome to my blog. The Dems need to find a way to, subtly, point out that McAin’t as President would make all his decisions just as well as he made the decision about his Vice Presidential Candidate.

    Ex: Why won’t she? Since when has hypocrisy stopped Republicans? She’ll tout AOSE without a hint of irony.

  5. This was my favorite story of the day… Some of the loudest speakers about AOSE have some of the most sexually active teenagers.

    Oh the irony, it burns… I’m tired of saying that.

  6. I hope neither side uses Bristol Palin to reinforce its view. doubt that Obama would use it. I honestly think he’s above dragging a 17-year-old kid into the political cesspool to make a point. I also hope, but have less confidence that it will be the case, that the Republicans don’t try to use it to reinforce their positions. Sad to say, however, Red State blog has already started doing that.

  7. Chappie: Keeping in mind that Chelsea Clinton’s looks, and Amy Carter’s looks, were used by right wing comentators as avenues for attack against their fathers (and, in Chelsea’s case, mother). Cheney used his daughter to prove he was not a homophobe and then, later, as a way of attacking the media for invading his space. Do you really think that they will shy away from using Palin’s minor daughter for political purposes?

    This may be why Republicans have been so good at winning elections. There is nothing, nothing, so low that a Republican politician, strategist or comentator will not stoop to it. They are so sure taht they have God on their side, that theirs is the only right way, that any oposition is a evil, that, to stay in power, any means justify the end.

  8. This news made my day. I don’t think the girl should be used, but in the end, politics is politics. I am having a blast reading, listening and watching the right spin everything to do with Palin. This is great.

  9. Well, Peggy Noonan gave a very frank talk about the politicos and their ways, she said that the more doltish and willing to use your own children and families the better.

    The GOP and press are already “Yes, but…” ing the whole thing, and it will blow over in time. and who knows? Some televangelist might pronounce it to have been parthenogenic all along.

    Abstinence only sex education….can anyone who’s ever been a teenager and remembers a five minute period of it think about such a thing without laughuing out loud? Can people be that hopelessly clueless?

    Then again, McCain might have had a moment of cold lucidity, looked at what was ahead of him, if he DID win, and decided to handicap himself rather than quit. I doubt it, but hey…

    When Chelsea Clinton was at State College she was, of course treated like royalty and everyone confessed themselves prepared to eat a mile of her shit to see what was at the other end because “she cared” and had made a nice speech. I’ll bet that she and the rest of the self styled ubermensch and herrenvolk she rubs shoulders with think a lot about the people on my street.

  10. I’m always amazed at how most of the insanity in the world tends to come home to roost on religion. Time after time, some problem, when looked at and analyzed, can be attributed to some past religious dogma. Absinthe only sex education, goes back to Nancy Reagan’s simple-minded “Just say No” stupidity , which in turn stems back from the religious sense that all sex outside marriage is proscribed, so what better sex education is there than none?

  11. If kids take “just say no” to sex the way we did Nancy’s “just say no” to drugs, there’s gonna be a whole lotta teen moms.

    But hey, that’s a good thing, right? It’s not like many can afford to go to college anyway anymore, and if we keep the Mexicans out, who is going to work all those shit jobs? We need a new ignorant and poor class, which of course will be religious and thus, continue to vote Republican so this thing never ends. Viva la Abstinence! Viva la Ignorance!

  12. DB: It is only a valid story when viewed through the lense of her mother’s theocratic politics.

    Sarge: Abstinence only has had me laughing for years. When I explained the concept to my 15-year old daughter, she laughed and said that with that kind of education, the pregnancy rate at the school would go from 1% to about 20%.’

    SI: Welcome back. Insanity denies reality. Religion denies reality. QED. I hadn’t picked up the “Just Say No” connection. Retrospectively obvious.

    Philly: Welcome back. Congratulations. You just summed up the Republican Party’s platform in a form that even a Republican could understand.

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