Just Say No To Abstinence

Ohio did just that.

The abstinence-until-marriage programs in the state of Ohio recently came under heavy fire. The AIDS taskforce of Ohio asked that state funding for the no-sex-till-marriage programs be withheld until proof for their efficacy can be shown. The programs, which began under Pres. Clinton, took on added steam and additional funding under Bush (no surprise there). Ohio law requires sex ed to promote and "emphasize" that abstinence from sexual activity is the only 100% effective means of protecting oneself from STD's and unwanted pregnancy (ORC 3313.60). Whereas most non-profit organizations must match their government funds with their own funding, the state of Ohio matches the funds for the abstinence-only programs. The US government doesn't care who matches it, just so long as it's matched. But the Ohio AIDS taskforce does care. You see, the AIDS taskforce has to match their own funds and would much rather see state funds go directly to AIDS patients than to be 'thrown down the drain' in an attempt to rally Ohio teens around the no-nookie flagpole. You can't blame them. The abstinence only programs are not only syphoning off large amounts of state funding, they also blatantly advertise hetero-monogamy as "God's plan for our lives." As it turns out federal funding may not be used for religious purposes, don't you know, which gives the AIDS taskforce a nice little platform on which to launch an assault.

It's not the only platform though. Studies show that whereas the no-sex-till-wed programs muster a lot of enthusiasm, the numbers of STD's and pregnancies among the students who signed up to "keep themselves pure" were just as high as teens exposed to (no pun intended) "safe-sex" programs. In other words, it wasn't necessarily working.

I find this interesting; this battle raging over what to tell the kids. What will work best. What will make those pesky numbers of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases drop. How to get the number of teen pregnancies down, etc. It is already and has been for some time a wild, overgrown weed patch in our national psyche. A word to the wise is no longer sufficient. The world is dangerous and ignorance is anything but bliss.

But as for the notion that a child equipped with a condom is "safer" than a child without is a total crock. It does hurt a thirteen year old girl's feelings to get plowed under by some boy or man in their pursuit of the national past time. I remain unconvinced that there is any thirteen year old in this country who would benefit by having sex.

So... is Cheryl Biddle, executive director of Abstinence the Better Choice, justified in saying "we want to balance the scale" by continuing a message of abstinence only in Ohio and is that "balance" worth $455,000 in state funding? Or is the idea of preaching abstinence worth the government's money only if you also hand out cherry-flavored condoms?

One last thought before I descend my soap box:

Learning to put on a condom without also learning to protect your heart seems an ass-backwards way to protect the young of this country.

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Blogger MrManuel said...

I don't think anything will ever be succesful in getting teens to stop having sex. Just too many outside influences/pressure.s I commend those who try, but it is hard...

27/8/08 14:53  
Anonymous Worldgineer said...

I think I'd be ok with the program if a) they removed the religion piece and b) it worked.

I do understand why you'd want to continue the program, but it just doesn't seem like it's helping. I think kids know about abstinence - they just don't want to practice it (no matter how big of a mistake that turns out to be).

27/8/08 18:34  
Anonymous evilesb138 said...

religion needs to keep out of politics....

I am surprised Clinton got this program started...he would be the last guy I would have picked.

Parents need to step in on matters such as this. The government is not a baby sitter and should not have to waste public monies and time watching people's under parented kids.

27/8/08 19:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with my brother, the parents need to get off their lazy asses and take an interest in their kids' lives.

What works is whatever works. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer.

27/8/08 21:21  

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