Is Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only-Sex-Education Done For?11 May, 2009
Over the past year, I have been a frequent critic of Abstinence-Only-Sex Education. The main reason? it does not work.
Don’t get me wrong. Abstinence does prevent pregnancy and can limit the spread of sexually-transmitted-diseases (frottage (rubbing the genitals together without penetration (dry-humping)), which, technically is not sex, can infect a partner). The problem is, AOSE does not increase abstinence. It does, however, increase the chance of unprotected sexual intercourse and unprotected anal intercourse (referred to as ‘saddlebacking’). Which increases teen pregnancy rates and infection rates for such diseases as chlamydia, AIDs, gonorhea and herpes. In many states, AOSE is also quite often presented as part of a religious program, stressing faith and Christian morality over facts.
Thanks to anti-tax zealots, money for education (of any kind) is scarce. Why is the federal government providing money to states to specifically support AOSE? Well, maybe it won’t anymore (from Reuters):
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama‘s $3.55 trillion budget proposal, released on Thursday, eliminates spending for programs that teach U.S. schoolchildren sexual abstinence and shifts funds to programs aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy.
The administration’s $78.4 billion spending plan for the Department of Health and Human Services, which must be reviewed and approved by Congress, includes support for teen pregnancy prevention.
“The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active,” the budget proposal said.
The so-called “abstinence only” programs, backed by many social conservatives who oppose the teaching of contraception methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics published in March said the U.S. teen birth rate rose for a second straight year in 2007 after a long decline.
Some experts blame the teen birth rate increases on government support for “abstinence-only” education under the Bush administration, which left office in January. But abstinence-only advocates have defended it as sound.
The American Public Health Association and U.S. Institute of Medicine told Congress last year that scientific studies have not found that abstinence-only teaching works to cut pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. (Reporting by JoAnne Allen)
For all those who support AOSE: note what the article says: “The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active.” In other words, it is Abstinence-Plus-Sex-Education.
Which is pretty much what I was taught: don’t do it, but if you do, be smart about it. Which is pretty much what my kids have been taught.
It’s going to take a long time to undo the damage of 30-odd years of neo-conservative bullshit. And, as Republicans were so fond of saying for the past 8 years, elections have consequences. You lost. Which means we can step away from faith-based government.