Abstinence Only Sex Education:17 February, 2009
Still Does Not Work.
But It Does Cost Millions.
Feministing.com has a fantastic article about, once again, the failure of abstinence-only sex education. The writer points out the sickness of one of the lessons of ATM (Abstinence ‘Til Marriage) — blame the girl who gets raped because she’s a slut and put herself in a bad situation. I really cannot add much. But I did notice other absurdities in the ATM website.
First, the name of the program — Abstinence ‘Til Marriage. They keep abbreviating it as ATM. In the realm of adult entertainment, ATM is shorthand for “Ass To Mouth” — anal sex directly to oral sex. Considering the number of children subjected to AOSE who choose to have unprotected anal sex (referred to as saddlebacking) because the girl wants to maintain her virginity and has been told that condoms are useless, this is a really unfortunate connotation which just adds to the oddness’ factor.
Second, the program outright lies to the students (big surprise, right?).
Abstinence ’til marriage is 100% effective in eliminating teen pregnancies, STDs and reducing the probability of cervical breast and prostate cancer later in life.
Technically, they are almost correct that abstinence prevents teen pregnancies; the only exceptions being divine conception and accidents resulting from frottage. But they do not point out that children taught AOSE, to the exclusion of all else, engage in sexual activity at about the same rate as those receiving comprehensive sex education, but are far less likely to use condoms to prevent pregnancy or STDs. Nor does the program’s site point out that many students taught exclusive AOSE are more likely to engage in other risky behaviours — unprotected anal and oral sex — and are more likely to be infected.
The part about decreasing cervical and breast cancer rates? I’ve seen studies showing that women who have more babies are less prone to certain types of cancers (which would seem to argue for earlier activity and pregnancy, not abstinence). A studyof the lies included in Illinois AOSE programs points out that the increase in cancer is slight, and is only associated with certain forms of the human papilovirus (which can be prevented through inoculation). I have noticed, though, that government studies seem to show much less increased risk than any of the studies funded by groups providing AOSE. Big surprise.
For my children, I have recommended abstinence but, if they choose to engage in sexual activity (and it really is their choice), I insist that they use protection. Don’t, but if you do, be safe.
The good news, the ATM program does have an adult resources page. Well, I thought it was good news. Turns out it does not have information to help parents decided what education their child receives. Nor does it have information about the program, or and disclaimers. What it does have, though, is commitment rings. Silver rings stamped either with “True Love” or “Vow of Purity.” I’m sure that is very helpful.
The Abstinence ‘Til Marriage program is snake oil. The program (and all (repeat all) programs like it) does not work. It does not reduce sexual activity. It does not reduce pregnancy rates. It does not reduce rates of STD infection.
And it is snake oil with dangerous impurities. It actually increases the chances of pregnancy and infection while filling the little moppets heads with the idea that condoms do not work.
This is faith-based education. The faith part has nothing to do with religion, rather, it is a program created without study but with an idea that, if we only believe enough, it will work. Never has, never will. It is merely a vehicle by conservative politicians to pander to conservative voters.
And the absolute worst part of this program in Ohio? Amplify Your Voice says it far better than I can:
Perhaps the sickest aspect of this organization and their website is the fact that our tax dollars are funding it. To date, they have received $1.8 million dollars, and are set to receive another $1.8 million in the next three years. Yes, we are subsidizing rape culture. And this is just one example of the many ridiculous abstinence-only until marriage sex education programs that we have wasted $1.5 billion in federal money on in the last decade.
Please send a message to Barack Obama to zero out funding for faith-based programs, especially the fatally flawed Abstinence-Only-Sex Education programs.
Posted in Abstinence, abstinence-only education, Authoritarianism, Church and State, denialism, education?, health care, hypocrisy, idiots, religion, Religious Abuse, school, sex, sex education, sexually transmitted disease |