Researchers and Doctors tell Democrats "No more abstinence-only funds"

Elizabeth's picture

Via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon and RH Reality Check :

Ten prominent researchers in adolescent health and sexuality sent a letter to Congreswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Ried explaining why it is wrong to continue funding abstinence-only education.

Not only is it ineffective, it also puts teens at risk for disease and pregnancy, and, as Marcotte points out, it puts schools in the business of disseminating propaganda instead of fostering critical thinking skills and putting a high value on complete and accurate information.

We've written about the Democrats cowardice on this issue before. I'm glad to see respected researchers continue to speak up and publicly pressure Congress to rethink this wrong-headed policy.

One long quote from the letter:

By design, abstinence programs restrict information about condoms and contraception - information that may be critical to protecting the health of young people and to preventing unplanned pregnancy, HIV infection, and infection with other sexually transmitted organisms. They ignore the health needs of sexually active youth and youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning for counseling, health care services, and risk reduction education. Withholding lifesaving information from young people is contrary to the standards of medical ethics and to many international human rights conventions. International treaties and human rights statements support the rights of adolescents to seek and receive information vital to their health. Governments have an obligation to provide accurate information to adolescents and adolescents have a right to expect health education provided in public schools to be scientifically accurate and complete. (Click here to read the whole thing. It's worth it.)

I couldn't agree more. And schools have a responsibility to promote inquiry and to prize information over ignorance.