Which is the bigger failure: the War on Drugs or Abstinence-Only Sex Ed?
A difficult question—as Eugene McCarthy said in another context (choosing between Nixon and Humphrey in that presidential election), “It’s like having to choose between obscenity and vulgarity.” (McCarthy, whom I once met, was good with a quip, a political handicap that doubtless kept Adlai Stevenson out of the White House. When George Romney (Mitt’s father) was running for president (a Romney family tradition for the men), he tried to backwalk an incautious comment (another Romney family tradition for the men) by saying he had been “brainwashed” before making the comment, and McCarthy offered the observation that, in Romney case, a light rinse would probably be sufficient.
One more: When flying about the country on his own presidential campaign of 1976, one of his opponents who was getting many headlines at the time was Jimmy Carter, who introduced the phrase “born again” into American presidential politics. As Carter construed it, having been born a second time was a significant advantage for a president to have, and he offered up his own success in this area. McCarthy was seated in a plane and the flight attendant asked if he would like a drink. He replied, “If I’m born again, may I have two drinks?”)
I fear I lost the thread of the post, but I’m of an age where I feel free to let my conversation wander where it will. Still, it’s a serious question. Ed Brayton has an excellent post on a study that reveals the complete, utter, and total waste of money and the great harm that abstinence-only sex education has wrought. Take a look. Just one quotation from the study he discusses:
A rigorous published review of 28 sexuality education programs in the United States and Canada aimed at reducing teen pregnancy and STIs (including HIV) found that none of the three abstinence-only programs that met the inclusion criteria for review demonstrated efficacy for delaying sexual debut. Furthermore, these three programs did not reduce the frequency of sex or the number of partners among those students who had ever had sex. This same review found that nine abstinence-plus programs showed efficacy in delaying sexual debut, as well as reducing the frequency of intercourse and increasing condom use once sex had been initiated.
The bottom line: the abstinence-only sex ed programs DO NOT WORK, just like the War on Drugs. Why do we continue to fund such wastes of money? Don’t people even glance at the results and outcomes?