In Rhode Island, Education Commissioner Peter McWalters issued a directive forbidding schools in the state to use Abstinence programs or materials. The official ban declares that Abstinence programs violate student rights, contain sexist stereotypes and marginalize homosexual teens.
In a supportive statement, the president of Advocates for Youth, James Wagoner, claims that abstinence programs are “bad science” as well as “bad policy.” Further, Wagoner declared that abstinence programs operate without “oversight” and that they are a “blatant violation of medical ethics and basic human rights.” Unbelievably, Wagoner accused the abstinence initiatives of censoring and taking a position: “stay pure or we don’t care about you.” Calling federal funding for abstinence programs a “national scandal,” Wagoner asked Congress for an immediate moratorium on spending for the programs.
Supposedly, Mr. Wagoner and Commissioner McWalters are open-minded people who support diversity in education and want teens to have as much information as possible before making pivotal decisions that affect their lives and future. Yes, right!
With such passionate, knee-jerk reactions, one has to wonder what motivates these two men and where they have been over the past 20 years (they are education experts, after all) when the results of teen sexual activity have so negatively affected teens’ futures.
Since they care so deeply about teenagers, could it be that they haven’t noticed the results of teen sexual activity: high pregnancy rates, skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or the integral relationship between teen pregnancy and school drop-outs with subsequent poverty? Or maybe they have not seen the dramatic increases in teen depression, violence, suicides and risky behavior that have increased as teen sexual activity increases. Perhaps they haven’t noticed that the long dominance of liberal programs produced increased sexual activity instead of curbing such emotional involvements and risky behavior. Perhaps they have never made the connection between poor grades, alcohol and drug abuse, school drop-outs and other negative results that frequently accompany sexual involvement during the high school years. Perhaps they are unaware that since abstinence programs were instituted, sexual activity among high school students has declined more than 10 percent. Would they want to go on record complaining about that decrease?
More likely, these two education experts have bought into the leftist myths that sex education programs provide the motivation for “safe” sex for teens, while condoms (when teens are taught to use them properly) provide the actual protection. Never mind the data about inconsistent use of condoms even by adults not to even mention the unreliability of condoms and the lack of protection they provide against certain STDs. Perhaps they truly believe that teens will wait until they are “old enough” or are “really in love” before engaging in sex. Anyone who has been around teenagers knows that they think they are already old enough for anything and “puppy love” is, to them, as real as it gets!
I’d like to remind the two education experts that every year another 15 million young people are infected with STDs, more than one-third of all American babies are born out-of-wedlock and the percentage continues to rise every year, 45 million abortions are the legacy of so-called “free love,” 20 percent of AIDS cases are among college-age young people, there are now more than 2 dozen incurable STDs and the fastest spreading one is HPV, which can cause cervical cancer that kills over 5,000 women a year. Do they realize that having three or more sexual partners in a lifetime increases the odds of cervical cancer by 15 times? Have they seen the data indicating that teen sexual activity and drug use are linked? Are they aware of the connection between alcohol and teen sexual activity?
Sexual activity in high school can be a life or death matter.
There is a huge disparity between the funding for abstinence education and the funding for comprehensive sex education ($12 to $1). It is fair to say that the abstinence funding is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the comprehensive sex education funding. Even so, there has been a significant drop in teen sexual activity since abstinence education has been encouraged, and 10 scientific studies have proved the validity of the programs. Further, 85 percent of parents believe in emphasizing abstinence.
Counselors tell us that sexually active girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their abstinent peers. Among the boys, sexually active ones are depressed twice as often. Sexually active teens are more likely to attempt suicide (girls 15 percent to 5 percent and boys 6 percent to 1 percent). But the most telling fact is that fully 63 percent of teens regret early sexual activity and wish that they had waited longer.
Liberal experts who want to ban abstinence programs ought to have to sit in a school counselor’s office for several hours every week to watch brokenhearted teens stream through, to see the emotional and psychological devastation lives shattered and hopes for the future crashed on the shoals of leftist ideology perpetuated by radical experts with nothing to lose and a lot of federal funding to gain!
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.
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