Monday, February 16, 2009

Speak Out for Sex Education

On Tuesday night, I will be meeting with the senior girls at Emma Willard, a private school in Troy, New York. It's the third year I've been invited to have two hours with the seniors without any faculty present. I took about moral sexual decision making, and then they can ask me any questions they have about sexuality. Some do it on anonymous cards, other's raise their hands. I tell them there is nothing they can't ask, except about my own private life. The questions are usually wide ranging, from biology to relationships to theology. I'm looking forward to it.

It's so different than what most schools offer. The federal abstinence-only-until-marriage education program has spent more than $1.5 billion in federal monies for a program which "has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity." It requires "teaching abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard", "that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard or human sexual activity" and "that sexual activity outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects." Note, that's all sexual activity not just intercourse.

More than a decade later, the evidence is clear. The programs don't work. Teenagers who take this program are just as likely to have sex a few years later than teens who don't -- but with an important difference. They are LESS likely to use a contraceptive method than teens who have had a more comprehensive program.

President Obama, when he was candidate Obama, spoke out against these programs and supported comprehensive sexuality education. We are hoping that he will not include the program in the federal budget. Go to the NO NEW MONEY campaign to learn how you can speak out against these ineffective and immoral programs.

And ask your clergy person, to endorse the "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Sex Education." We need to demonstrate that religious leaders support comprehensive sexuality education in large numbers.

I'll let you know how Emma Willard goes on Wednesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great program. I'd love it if you'd post for us some of the questions and the answers you gave. Is that a no-no because it's a private session? It sounds incredibly interesting.