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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Some People Never Learn


For some, ideology trumps everything.  Such is the case for thecons who backed George Bush’s abstinence-only sex education programs.  Funding for programs that included more than abstinence-only information, like how to have safe sex if you decide to have sex, was slashed.  Well, actions have consequences.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) monitors statistics like birth rates and sexually transmitted diseases for teenagers.  Take a wild guess at what happened to the statistics after Bush’s programs were funded and pushed onto the American public.  Birth rates and STDs were in decline from 1991 through the early 2000’s.  Those declines were halted and reversed by 2005.

Pregnancies among teenagers 15 years or older are up sharply.  The number of teenage girls with syphilis has risen by half.  Two decades of progress in gonorrhea infection rates has been reversed.  The number of adolescent boys with AIDS has doubled.

Oh, and 16,000 pregnancies were reported among 10- to 14-year old girls in 2004.  That’s a tragic statistic.  Nearly 16,000 10- to 14-years olds reported having an STD (which is an undercount, obviously).  That’s also tragic.

Earlier this year, a report was issued that demonstrated that children who signed up for abstinence programs had sex at the same rate as those who didn’t sign up for the programs.  A major difference between the two groups was the incidence of pregnancies and STDs.  The abstinence group had a much higher rate.  The implementation of a fringe ideology on a larger population has had very tragic consequences.  So how do abstinence-only supporters respond?

By saying there is still too little abstinence-only education.  I’m not kidding, though given the gravity of the situation, I wish I were.

“It is ridiculous to say that a programme we nominally invest in has failed when it fails to overcome the most sexualised culture in world history, said Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for American Values, which describes itself as a supporter of traditional marriage and “against liberal education and cultural forces”.

Apparently, being the spokeswoman requires the ability to refuse to take part in reality.  Reality, Kristi, is recognizing that if your argument that our culture is the most sexualized in world history, then pregnancy and STD rates should be quite similar across the country.  Or, if we were to really believe your worldview, then places like the West and East coast should have the highest rates of pregnancies and STDs, correct?  I mean, after all, which portion of the country does liberal education supposed take place?  Not your portion, I bet.

So why, Kristi, are pregnancy and STD rates higher for southern states, those bastions of “family values” and “morality”?  Why, Kristi, are pregnancy and STD rates lower for other countries, such as European countries, than they are in the U.S.?  Because the CDC is part of your imaginary liberal conspiracy?  Because Coasters flock to the south and impregnate and infect your neighbors?  Because those evil liberals from Europe make sure to stop by the U.S. and knock our kids up and infect them with STDs as part of their liberal lifestyle?  No, Kristi, it’s because abstinence-only programs are taught more widely in southern states than the rest of the country (and world).  It’s actually quite easy to figure out what’s going on.  Children in southern states are being purposefully exposed to potentially harmful life situations to satisfy your sick desire to impose your ideology on them.  Ignoring reality and adhering to your ideology is harming real children, Kristi.  That’s not tragic, that’s disgusting.


2 thoughts on “Some People Never Learn

  1. I am a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner who deals with the problems of STD’s and teen pregnancy on a regular basis. I have seen first hand that the lack of knowledge young women have about their bodies and STD has drastically contributed to the problem. In addition, abstinence only education adds fuel to this fire. In order to help educate young women and their moms I co-authored a book called “Start Talking, a girl’s guide for you and your mom about health sex and whatever”, to help bridge this gap in education.

  2. Thanks for that information, Janine. I can’t imagine what you experience on a daily basis. I only read about it in the news. Thanks for all you do!

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