Sunday, December 05, 2004

George W. Bush wants your teenaged daughter pregnant and date-raped!

That is the only conclusion I can come to after reading the recent study (Adobe Acrobat required) on the horribly sexist and, more importantly, fantastically ineffective abstinence-only sex education programs the White House is pouring $170 million of your taxpayer's money into.

These programs, failing to accept the fact that horny young people really want to fuck each other, fail to prevent teenage pregnancy or the spread of STDs, and may actually make both problems worse (by convincing teenagers that condoms are ineffective, so they are less likely to use them when they do give into their natural urges).

From the study:
The report finds that over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two thirds of SPRANS grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health. Specifically, the report finds:
· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain False Information about the Effectiveness of Contraceptives. Many of the curricula misrepresent the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. One curriculum says that “the popular claim that ‘condoms help prevent the spread of STDs,’ is not supported by the data”; another states that “[i]n heterosexual sex, condoms fail to prevent HIV approximately 31% of the time”; and another teaches that a pregnancy occurs one out of every seven times that couples use condoms. These
erroneous statements are presented as proven scientific facts.

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain False Information about the Risks of Abortion. One curriculum states that 5% to 10% of women who have legal abortions will become sterile; that “[p]remature birth, a major cause of mental retardation, is increased following the abortion of a first pregnancy”; and that “[t]ubal and cervical pregnancies are increased following abortions.” In fact, these risks do not rise after the procedure used in most abortions in the United States.

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Blur Religion and Science. Many of the curricula present as scientific fact the religious view that life begins at conception. For example, one lesson states: “Conception, also known as fertilization, occurs when one sperm unites with one egg in the upper third of the fallopian tube. This is when life begins.” Another curriculum calls a 43-day-old fetus a “thinking person.”

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Treat Stereotypes about Girls and Boys as Scientific Fact. One curriculum teaches that women need “financial support,” while men need “admiration.” Another instructs: “Women gauge their happiness and judge their success on their relationships. Men’s happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments.”

· Abstinence-Only Curricula Contain Scientific Errors. In numerous
instances, the abstinence-only curricula teach erroneous scientific information. One curriculum incorrectly lists exposure to sweat and tears as risk factors for HIV transmission. Another curriculum states that “twenty-four chromosomes from the mother and twenty-four chromosomes from the father join to create this new individual”; the correct number is 23.
The report finds numerous examples of these errors. Serious and pervasive problems with the accuracy of abstinence-only curricula may help explain why these programs have not been shown to protect adolescents from sexually transmitted diseases and why youth who pledge abstinence are significantly less likely to make informed choices about precautions when they do have sex.
These programs also, in my opinion, will make the next generation of teenaged girls more likely to be pressured into sex and less likely on top of that to have a condom to use to protect themselves with when that happens. Take this little gem about what happens to 'uppity women'.
One book in the “Choosing the Best” series presents a story about a knight who saves a princess from a dragon. The next time the dragon arrives, the princess advises the knight to kill the dragon with a noose, and the following time with poison, both of which work but leave the knight feeling “ashamed.” The knight eventually decides to marry a village maiden, but did so “only after making sure she knew nothing about nooses or poison.” The curriculum concludes: Moral of the story: Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess.
What the hell is that? Asking the parents of daughters out there, why would you want your child to learn such a thing? Do you think the girl who has been taught this will be more likely to say no to sex if pressured? Or, if they want to have sex too, do you think they'll have a condom around?

What the hell happened to our society? When did it become Afghanistan around here? And why is there relationship advice, no matter what its nature, in a sex-ed class anyway?

Then there's the way these 'curriculum' paint an image of the sexually aggressive boy.
One curriculum teaches that men are sexually aggressive and lack deep emotions. In a chart of the top five women’s and men’s basic needs, the curriculum lists “sexual fulfillment” and “physical attractiveness” as two of the top five “needs” in the men’s section. “Affection,” “Conversation,” “Honesty and Openness,” and “Family Commitment” are listed only as women’s needs. The curriculum
teaches: “A male is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is sexually attracted. . . . Women usually have greater intuitive awareness of how to develop a loving relationship.

The same curriculum tells participants: “While a man needs little or no preparation for sex, a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation.”
So, not only are girls supposed to be accepting, adoring, meek little helpmates, but boys are brainless shallow horndogs who can have sex with anything at the drop of a hat. Oh, and they have really delicate egos, too.

Seriously, I wouldn't buy this crap in a cheap Kate Hudson romantic comedy, and the White House is spending 170 million dollars on trying to make your kids act this way.

Not that I want teenagers to have sex. It's a mistake of the right to say that comprehensive sex education encourages sex. The sex ed-class in my high school (during what are increasingly looking like the golden, halcyon days of the 1990s) encouraged abstinence as the only 100 percent effective method of birth control and preventing STDs. However, recognizing the fact that horny teenagers are going to lean enthusiastically towards wanting to fuck each other, they also talked about proper condom use and birth control pills and whatnot. The buzzwords "safer sex" were used.

And never once were the girls admonished not to nag the boys.

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