When it comes to the abstinence only boondoggle — that great ideologically driven theory of sexless sex education that’s managed to waste the public’s money and put our kids in peril all at the same time — there’s really only one question left to be answered: is there any amount of evidence establishing that these programs don’t work that will be sufficient to finally allow us to be done with them?
Here’s the latest:
The long decline in sexual activity among U.S. teenagers, hailed as one of the nation’s most important social and public health successes, appears to have stalled.
After decreasing steadily and significantly for more than a decade, the percentage of teenagers having intercourse began to plateau in 2001 and has failed to budge since then, despite the intensified focus in recent years on encouraging sexual abstinence, according to new analyses of data from a large federal survey.
The halt in the downward trend coincided with an increase in federal spending on programs focused exclusively on encouraging sexual abstinence until marriage, several experts noted. Congress is currently debating funding for such efforts, which receive about $175 million a year in federal money and have come under fire from some quarters for being ineffective.
The leveling off in teen sexual activity is worrying experts and advocates across the ideological spectrum. The fall of such activity has been one of the key forces behind a historic drop in teen pregnancy rates and has bolstered efforts to protect teenagers from sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.
Well now, isn’t that precious? Not only have we flushed hundreds of millions of dollars down the toilet pursuing a program that doesn’t work. By doing so — and thereby effectively reducing the availability of the balanced approach to sex education that’s actually been shown to work — we’ve made the problems we’re supposedly attacking worse.
Yet, we not only continue to fund this fraudulent monstrosity, but, if the Democratic controlled House gets its way (you heard me right — the Democratic controlled House), funding for the abstinence only fairytale may actually be increased in the next budget.
Apparently, as discussed later in the article, the Democratic House leadership decided to use abstinence funding as a bargaining chip to get GOP support for the annual health and education funding bill. I honestly don’t have words that can adequately describe the stupidity of this move. If nothing else, congressional Democrats should remember that almost all abstinence only funding goes directly to their opponents in the Religious Right.
Senate Democrats have done a little better, proposing modest cuts in abstinence funding, but even that’s not close to good enough. All federal support for this damaging example of junk science should stop now.
Not one more dollar.
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