Cory Silverberg, coauthor of the book I recently reviewed for Sex In The Public Square, The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, offered up a link to A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States at the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States on Friday, a week ago.
As Abstinence Only Sex Mis-education goes hand in hand with Creationism and other anti-science propaganda, I set aside some time to read through the report. These issues concern me as a parent, and as a person striving to see that the leaders of tomorrow's world are not handicapped by pseudo-scientific faith-based nonsense.
Because faith, by its very definition, is based on blind obedience to authority, it is the antithesis of science, which is based on reality and evidence. Authority, whether in the form of a dusty anthology of ancient superstition, a charismatic person of great influence, or an invisible zombie in the sky, need not apply. When science and faith collide, science will always provide the better description of reality, and like it or not, we live in the real world. We need accurate portrayals of reality to make intelligent, informed decisions regarding the health and future of the world's children.
The good, the bad, and the ugly, lie below the fold.
Missing the excitement of all those awards shows that you'd be enthralled by right now if it weren't for the intransigence of the Producers association? This contest is way better: Teens and young adults making videos demonstrating the need for improved sex ed programs.
You know that I've long argued in favor of age-appropriate comprehensive sex education for kids starting in elementary school and working through high school. You also know that's a hard sell in a nation that increases funds abstinence-only sex ed even while states are rejecting the money and even though research shows it to be ineffective.
To help spread the message about how necessary comprehensive sex ed is, and also about how bad a lot of the sex ed that teens now receive can be, RH Reality Check in partnership with SIECUS, Isis Inc., Advocates for Youth and the National Sexuality Resource Center sponsored a video contest. Young people were invited to send in short videos describing their sex ed experiences or envisioning the kind of sex ed they think is best.
The top 10 videos are posted here and you can vote for your favorite until January 16.
Abstinence-only "education" programs are one of the misbegotten, cancerous ideas to be foisted on the American school system in my lifetime, and probably far beyond that. The entire pedagogical theory has been debunked as thoroughly as the "Intelligent Design" nonsense, and more than once. But because we figure that nothin' says lovin' like filling your kids up with shame and ignorance about their genitals, Congress has kept shovelling money at programs that tell kids that contraception doesn't work, that sex will soil their precious "purity," and monogamous heterosexual marriage is the only way to go when it comes to doing the horizontal bop.
You might have missed the part about the penis pumps. It was in a New York Times article about Medicare overpaying for things like oxygen tanks. Apparently Medicare, despite its potentially enormous bargaining power, spends more for many items than they would cost in your neighborhood pharmacy or surgical supply store. In the midst of the article is this paragraph:
For example, last year Medicare spent more than $21 million on pumps to help older and disabled men attain erections, paying about $450 for the same device that is available online for as little as $108. Even for a simple walking cane, which can be purchased online for about $11, the government pays $20, according to government data.
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.
What has happened to the Prevention First Act (H.R. 819/S. 21)? Why are these bills stuck in committee while the Democrats are INCREASING funding for abstinence-only education? Don't they at least have an obligation to hold the line on such misappropriate of funds? We're talking about the spending of 141 million dollars on programs that we know don't work and that actually put our communities at risk. And we're talking about the party in control, the one that is supposed to be friendly to smart sexual health policy, granting this increase in spending and as a result teaching kids that abstinence-until-marriage is the only legitimate approach to sexuality and that condoms don't work well.
If you can't come to our "coming out party" because you're in San Francisco then consider this very worthwhile event. Nora Dye rode across the country on her bike to promote sex education, and sexual and reproductive freedom. She is a remarkable young woman and her project is worthy of tremendous celebration!
Nora Dye says: 15 weeks on my bicycle. 4600 miles across the country. 19 states. 2 massive dog bites. Wrong turns, dazzling vistas, bears, moose, and midwestern misadventures.
Plus enough stories about sex, politics and culture to tease your brain and challenge all the things you thought you knew about the politics of sexual freedom in America.
Join me, Rhonda and my temporarily rock hard calves for a report back and slide show of my adventures across the US. Find out what they're thinking in Wyoming, why they can't get enough of masturbation in Ithaca and why they're doing things in Madison that will blow your mind.
Join us for a fun filled night of adventures, laughter and good conversation!
6:30 PM Appetizers and refreshments
7:00 PM Slide show and stories from Nora
I don't know how I missed this item posted on the Advocates for Youth web site last week:
I don't tap into the mainstream media news broadcasts often, but I was in the pizza place last evening and caught a story about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and something about sex ed for kindergartners, so of course I had to pay attention! Here's an ABC News link about the story.
I wonder how many 5-year-olds Mitt Romney has spent much time talking to. Yesterday Mitt Romney attacked Barack Obama, who supports age-appropriate sex ed for all school kids, including kindergartners, saying that it was never age appropriate to talk about sex to 5 year olds.