‘No More Money’ for Abstinence Education, Campaign Says

CNSNews.com – More than 200 liberal organizations launched a nationwide campaign Tuesday to halt federal funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs. Conservatives responded that lawmakers should “stay the course” on abstinence education and reject the “old snake oil” of comprehensive sex education…


1 thought on “‘No More Money’ for Abstinence Education, Campaign Says

  1. Here is another issue dominated by extreme positions. On the one side we have the Planned Parenthood message to teenagers, which can be summarized as “Have sex but be safe.” On the other side we have groups promoted by the religious right whose approach is “Don’t have sex and we can’t tell you any more than that because it might encourage you to have sex.” The more sensible approach, which unfortunately lacks any interest group to promote it, would be “Don’t have sex, but if you do be safe.”

    The problem with the Planned Parenthood approach is it’s assumption that promiscuity and sexual activity among teenagers are the normal condition. It is too narrowly concerned with technical matters, like how contraceptive devices work. It doesn’t take into account the possibility that many teenagers will not ready for the experience emotionally and by having sex too early will find themselves in situations they are far too young to deal with.

    The Planned Parentood approach promotes a view of sexual activity that is not focused on loving intimacy, but views it rather as a form of recreational physicial gratification. In this way it encourages the very activity that it then has to provide the services to treat, transmission of sexual disease and unwanted pregnancies. It doesn’t deal with unhealthy and negative attitudes about sex prevalent among teens that are transmitted by our culture.

    The sex education curricula and approaches supported by the religious right promote much more healthy attitudes about sex, but then wrongly assume that having instilled them, no other information is neccesary. It is the”-only” in the “abstinence-only” approach towards sex education that is problematic. Many teenagers are by nature either rebellious and defiant, and/or impressionable, naive and vulnerable to peer pressure. The probability of non-compliance with the objectives of the program therefore, are high. As would be expected, studies of abstinence-only programs have revealed some to be mixed successes, others have been total failures.

    It is extremely unlikely, therefore, that all teenagers exposed to an abstinence-only program will be able to successfully defer sexual relations. Knowing this, it is irresponsible not to include information on how to avoid pregnancy or STDs. The goal should be to instill in our children healthy attitudes towards sexual relations, but if we are unsuccessful our children should also be given the information they need to keep a bad situation from getting worse.

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