Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Abstinence updates

Abstinence-only educators had a conference last week. Laura Donnelly at TomPaine.com was not impressed:

It was a big weekend for abstinence-only education. The unproven and unscientifically supported education method got its own first-ever national conference—sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services , no less!—in Baltimore to evaluate how it's working. The results were inconclusive—only one study has found that teens exposed to abstinence-only education programs embrace the idea of chastity, and there's no evidence yet that they actually follow through with it—but the conference's main purpose, as I see it, was simply to put a lot of abstinence-only educators together in one room and let them reinforce each other. It's a lot easier to drown out science that way.

She also tells of protestors at the conference and at the headquarters of Family Research Council in Washington. The protestors at the FRC were dressed in full-body condom costumes. My guess is the staff of the ultra-right FRC will be having nightmares for the rest of their lives.

In other abstinence news, Sen. Lautenberg's amendment that would require abstinence only programs to at least provide medically accurate information faces a battle in the House. The good people at NARAL have a petition ready to sign if you're interested. (Hat tip to tompaine.com again.)

And the Denver Post reports that abstinence groups are heading to college! Look out UC-Boulder... I will say this, it appears based on the representation of the college group in the Denver Post, that the abstinent students aren't trying to push their agenda on others, nor are they trying to misinform or scare anybody. They're trying to create social networks of students that are abstinent. At the end of the day, this is a good thing. There is a lot of pressure on young people to have sex and many of them simply aren't ready it for it. They shouldn't feel like they have to.

Abstinence is a good idea for teens and college students. Teaching only abstinence, however, is not.


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