Thursday, July 05, 2007

Can We Count on Congress to Just Say No?

Could the end of your tax payer dollars supporting abstinence only education be near?

The signs are promising. On June 30th, the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program expired, although the Senate voted to extend it for an additional three months. The House voted last week to eliminate the requirement that one third of US international HIV/AIDS dollars must be used to promote abstinence. And Laura Bush told CNN over the weekend that condoms are "absolutely essential" to HIV prevention efforts and that she supports eliminating the abstinence requirement.

But, not unexpectedly, the abstinence-only industry is warning its supporters of the end of teenage morality, sky rocketing STD and pregnancy rates, and so on if the program is allowed to expire, and mounting a summer campaign on Congress. (Just google news search "abstinence only Congress" to see for yourself.)

They stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars for programs that that have been found to be ineffective in reducing sexual intercourse among adolescents, discouraging STD prevention and contraceptive use when they do become sexually involved, and indeed, even increasing oral and anal sex among teens who take virginity pledges.

It's time to just say no. Just say no to programs that don't provide full information to young people. Just no to programs that teach young people that having sex before marriage causes grave psychological and physical harm (yes, that's the federal requirement) even though 95% of Americans have sex before marriage, most without such dire consequences. Just say no to programs that keep countries from providing the HIV prevention efforts their citizens need.

Tell your Congresspersons to just say no as well. (In case you don't have it handy, the Congressional switchboard is 202-224-3121.)

1 comment:

Karen Rayne, Ph.D. said...

I would be very interested in seeing your data that says anal sex rates have been on the rise among adolescents. It is clear that abstinence-only sex education has increased oral sex rates. However, I have only heard whispers here and there about anal sex, with no real number or data. I have been asked by a number of parents about this particular issue, and would like to return real information to them.

Thank you for your blog! It's fabulous.

Karen Rayne