I just read an article on Fox News’ website that hurts my heart as badly as how Natalie Dylan is trying to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder (see the blog just before this one). You can find the full article at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,480605,00.html, but here’s the highlights…
“CRITICS PUSH TO END ABSTINENCE-ONLY SEX EDUCATION”
NEW YORK — With the exit of the Bush administration, critics of abstinence-only sex education will be making an aggressive push to cut off federal funding for what they consider an ineffective, sometimes harmful program.
How quickly and completely they reach their goal is uncertain, however, as conservative supporters of abstinence education lobby Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to preserve at least some of the funding, which now totals $176 million a year.
And even if federal funding is halted, some states — such as Georgia — are determined to keep abstinence programs going on their own, ensuring that this front in the culture wars will remain active.
…Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of American, depicted the federal abstinence-only program as “an utter failure that has wasted more than $1.5 billion” over the past decade. Like other critics, she noted that several major studies — including a federally funded review — have found no evidence that the abstinence-only approach works in deterring teen sex… “We believe the amount of money that goes into it would be so much better used on things to prevent unwanted pregnancies,” she said. “I think we’ll have enough votes to deal with it.” [translation: funding to cover birth control devices and abortion services which Planned Parenthood sells to support their own organization.]
Supporters of abstinence education acknowledge the shift of political power in Washington, but they have appealed to Obama to preserve some federal funding for their programs. Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, suggested that one option would be for Congress “to allow true choice” by approving funding for both comprehensive and abstinence-focused programs. Referring to recent data showing increases in teen births and sexually transmitted diseases among young people, she said, “Now is not the time to remove even one of the tools that can help teens.”
However, Slaughter said she would oppose any effort to fund both approaches. “We can’t have both, because abstinence-only doesn’t work,” she said.
Still, she said there could be a long-term benefit to conducting research on whatever abstinence programs do endure. “I suspect that if research community keeps testing them, there might be a couple that do have an effect,” she said.
Georgia supplements its federal abstinence money with more than $500,000 of state funds. “Abstinence education will remain a strategy of our youth development initiative regardless of what happens at the federal level,” said Jen Bennecke, executive director of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families. She credited the Georgia program — which includes character-development curriculum — with contributing to a 50 percent decrease in teen pregnancies since its inception 11 years ago. [Boy, I call that SUCCESS, don’t you?]
Roughly half the states receive federal abstinence funding — the others have spurned the program, under which instructors are directed to teach that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.
I wish I could have a few moments with these lawmakers to tell them about the negative psychological and physical affects of MY premarital sexual encounters, effects I was oblivious to as a teenager and would have hugged someone’s neck if they’d just have told me what turmoil I would be getting myself into. I wish I could tell them about my husband who, as a 26-year old virgin, avoided these negative consequences altogether and was awfully glad he did (and so was I). I wish I could introduce them to some of the girls and guys who’ve attended my sexuality retreats over the past 15 years — who are now young men and women of sexual integrity (regardless of what was in their past prior to the event)… who are faithful husbands and wives today because they learned that they COULD control their body in holy and healthy ways… who value sex only within marriage rather than viewing it as “just a thang” or some tool that you can use to barter for whatever you want.
I’m worried that when you remove the ultimate goal of abstinence until marriage out of the sex education mix, the message becomes something along the lines of “Since every teenager does it, here’s a condom so you can do it too, all without consequences!”
Does this hurt your heart too? Don’t we WANT abstinence until marriage to be the expected cultural standard (especially for our OWN sons & daughters)?
Obviously, those of us with children are going to have to work overtime to instill those values at home if the liberal government has its way. And by the way, here are a couple of recommendations to help parents of 8-12 year old girls and boys:
Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle (available at www.shannonethridge.com)
Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle (available at www.fredstoeker.com)
Wishing you (and your children!) a lifetime of sexual integrity,