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.
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.
Last night, despite President Bush's veto threat, the Senate passed the FY 2008 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (by a vote of 81-12) that includes significant provisions overturning destructive policies on family planning and HIV/AIDS. Thanks to the leadership and commitment of Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Senate bill not only includes the identical measures in the House-passed bill (H.R. 2764) -- exempting contraceptives from the Global Gag Rule and repealing the abstinence-only funding restrictions for HIV prevention programs -- it goes even further by repealing the Gag Rule entirely.
I don't know how I missed this item posted on the Advocates for Youth web site last week:
On the heels of my post at UDreamOfJanie about anti-science Sunday School Teacher Dr. Don McLeroy being appointed head of the Texas Board of Education, allow me to bring to your attention another of Dr. McLeroy's religiously motivated dangers to education in the Lone Star State.
I'll spare you the awful frames at his homepage this time, and point you directly to his statement on abstinence only Sex Ed.
Michelle Vitt looks happy enough. She’s pretty in the picture of her in today’s Jacksonville Daily News. Sitting in the Starbuck’s there on Western Blvd., in her Abercrombie T-shirt, pretty smile, lovely cheeks, cell phone and keys on the table next to her frozen coffee drink, you might think she’s just your average American college age girl. But Hope Hodge of the Daily News Staff tells us there’s something very atypical about Michelle that you can’t see in that photograph, or even in person.
The New York Times had two important editorials in the past three days dealing with important issues of sex and policy.
Today's took up the case, again, of Genarlow Wilson, the young man in Georgia who is still serving time in prison for the consensual oral sex he had when he was 17 with a girl who was two years younger. Specifically, the Times chastises the DA in the case for continuing to focus on the rape that occured at that party (of which Wilson was acquitted) and even circulating the video tape that was made of the rape, as part of his lobbying effort against Genarlow Wilson's release.