Thursday, December 02, 2004

Abstaining from the truth

11 out of 13 federally funded abstinence only education programs have scientifically inaccurate information. That's the finding of an investigation commissioned by Rep. Henry Waxman.

The report is astounding. Some of the abstinence only programs reported that condoms were only 70% effective is preventing HIV. But the Center for Disease Control (that liberal bastion of immorality) has found this: "Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive." Waxman's researchers point out that the abstinence only programs were citing a 1993 study for the 70% figure. That study has been thoroughly discredited.

Said one abstinence only advocate, "One thing is very clear for our children, abstaining from sex is the most effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, STDs and preventing pregnancy." True. The CDC does say that condoms are not 100% effective. So why not abstinence first instead of abstinence only? Why not tell (or encourage, or implore?) teens not to have sex-- tell them it's really for the best. Tell them why. But please, be accurate. At least don't lie. And let's face it, whether we like it or not, they have a choice. If they make what we believe -- myself included -- to be the wrong choice, at least they'll be able to protect themselves from STDs. What's wrong with that?

Waxman represented this viewpoint himself: "I have no objection talking about abstinence as a surefire way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. [But] I don't think we ought to lie to our children about science. Something is seriously wrong when federal tax dollars are being used to mislead kids about basic health facts."

Agreed. For the full 22-page report, click here.
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