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Coalition for Adolescent Sexual Health

Press Conference Remarks

February 13, 2003 10:00 a.m.

2226 Rayburn House Office Building


Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.

Thank you, Peter. As he said, I am Janice Crouse and I come to you from an academic background. Prior to coming to Washington, I was a professor and debate coach and then an academic administrator at a Midwestern university. Here in the nation’s capital, I was first a speechwriter for Dr. Louis Sullivan at HHS; then I served as a presidential speechwriter for the first President Bush. Currently, I am Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank of Concerned Women for America.

Since the previous speakers have given you the hard data about the Zogby Poll, let me summarize what the previous public opinion surveys have communicated. There are three basic messages: that comprehensive sex education is good; that abstinence until marriage is unrealistic and that parents want “safe sex” messages taught to their children.

Why would there be such a discrepancy between what Zogby found that parents overwhelmingly support abstinence based sex education and what previous surveys supposedly found?

Because there is a lot of money involved. $219 million of federal funds underwrite comprehensive sex education programs. President Bush is advocating an allocation of a little more than half of that $135 million for abstinence based programs, yet liberals are complaining about that amount!

Also, there are discrepancies between this poll and previous ones because truth is too often dispensable. The pictures and posters of the comprehensive sex education programs are particularly egregious. In that regard, the latest example is a poster of two phallic-shaped blimps: a large one labeled “with” and a smaller one labeled “without.” The caption? “It looks bigger . . . when you wear a condom.” It is unconscionable that adults would feed into adolescent ignorance and fears with such blatant lies and in such an irresponsible manner, but the liberal standard operating procedures continue use any means, including lying, because achieving their special interest “ends” is the only important thing

Because that is true, I want to focus on two contemporary clich.

The first clichis, “Follow the Money.” Sex education funding has gone almost exclusively to liberal organizations like Planned Parenthood and SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States). These groups focus on condom distribution not character development; sexual mechanics not relationship maintenance. Their ostensible goal is to provide information, but the result is to destroy innocence. Their agenda is to legitimize promiscuity rather than instill personal responsibility. The central message is that teens are going to “do it anyway” so give them a condom. If the condom doesn’t work, we’ll provide an abortion.

Once again, the sad, sad, tragedy of low expectations dooms our children to a heavy load of sexual baggage, an accumulation of bad memories that rivals the barnacles on an ancient ship’s hull and, too often, unplanned pregnancies and a lifetime of battling STDs.

For this, we hand out hard-earned taxpayer money to condom-based comprehensive sex education programs to the tune of $219 million a year. And, the liberals are waging a war against abstinence-until-marriage programs programs that are guaranteed to protect our children’s health, innocence, well-being and develop their character for a price tag of a little more than half that given to condom-based, “safe-sex” sex education programs. President Bush is asking Congress to allocate $135 million for abstinence programs in the 2003 budget.

The second clichis “You Get More of What You Subsidize.” We have to ask what have been the results of the $219 million dollar investment in comprehensive sex education. Has it been worthwhile? Well, currently there is a public health epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among 12 to 18 year olds. It is not coincidental that, at the same time, among college students depression cases have doubled, the number of suicidal students has tripled and the number of sexual assault cases has quadrupled. One in five teens tests positive for genital herpes. Nearly half of girls who have even one episode of sexual intercourse contracts HPV (human papilloma virus) and 14 percent will develop cervical cancer which causes more deaths per year than HIV and AIDS. [ New England Journal of Medicine ] After more than 20 years of condom-based sex education to adolescents, we’ve added more than two-dozen sexually transmitted diseases to the two known STDs of 1960, syphilis and gonorrhea. The National Institutes for Health state that 100% consistency in condom usage produces only an 87% reduction in risk of HIV and even less protection for other STDs.

What about changes since the rise of abstinence-based education? The unwed teen birth rates have begun to decline. Condom purveyors will try to say that it is a result of condom expertise. You know, all those sessions about how to unroll condoms and cover cucumbers? Let’s see, how does that go? Suddenly teens who can’t control their sexual impulses have discipline and “take time to condom?” I don’t think so!

When will folks wake up and take notice that the very people pushing condoms support themselves by providing abortions? What’s wrong with that picture? Obviously, there are organizations whose existence depends upon convicing children that their sexuality can’t be controlled and that it is O.K. to give in to their urges because a condom will protect them. If it doesn’t, then there is abortion.

These views are not merely a dispassionate corporate agenda. Rather, they stem from sometimes well-meaning individuals who are very, very passionate true believers whose angst compels them to legitimize irresponsible behavior. They are often people who are driven to eradicate the moral standards that produce guilt.

Abstinence promotes the health and well-being of teens and is their best lifestyle choice until marriage. Young people are capable of developing the character, integrity, self-control and personal responsibility necessary for remaining abstinent before marriage. We do young people a disservice when we expect less. We endanger their health and well-being when we perpetuate the myths that “their hormones are uncontrollable; they are going to do it anyway” and “condoms provide protection so promiscuity won’t be harmful.” No responsible adult can, in good conscience, seriously want to encourage teenagers to jeopardize their future by short-circuiting their character development and endangering their health and well-being.

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