Thursday, December 02, 2004

Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says

Great! Just what the world needs, even more confused, oversexualized, mis-infomed teens. Just freakin great.

Taken from the Washington Post:
"Congress first allocated money for abstinence-only programs in 1999, setting aside $80 million in grants, which go to a variety of religious, civic and medical organizations. To be eligible, groups must limit discussion of contraception to failure rates.

President Bush has enthusiastically backed the movement, proposing to spend $270 million on abstinence projects in 2005. Congress reduced that to about $168 million, bringing total abstinence funding to nearly $900 million over five years. "

So corporations like The Medical Institute Get to put out 'educational' pamphlets that proport (incorrectly) that :

  • A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person." (no medical proof, yet...)
  • HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears. (Absolutely, not possible)
  • Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse. (its less than 3%)
And my favorite:
  • touching a person's genitals can result in pregnancy
Now just looking at this quick list of things that are being outlined...doesn't this sound like middle-school variety urban-legendary lying? It does to me, I mean if at least the last supposition about pregnancy and "touching of genitals" were true, I would have had at least a few kids by now... Regardless what makes me mad is not the whole "don't have sex...stay virgin!" line, its more about lying to kids in an attempt to scare them INTO abstinence.

Now having friends who were teen pregnancies I can understand the desire to keep our kids from having kids. And, yes, I do agree that abstinence is the best and only way to prevent children from getting/having STD's or unwanted pregnancies, but lying? Positing subjective observations like "50% of gay men have HIV" as medical fact? Come ON!! (incidentally gay males aged 20-25 - the actual rate is something closer to 30%, and the spread of adolecents infected with HIV is an even 50/50 for both hetero/homo girls and boys, as reported by the CDC)

So it sounds to me like this, and other Abstinence-Only organizations can basically produce medically incorrect data with literally no check? I mean I knew about this waaaayyyy back in 1999, (and I have to admit I hated it then) and it only comes up now, 5 years comittee?
Nevermind the fact that a company like "The Medical Institute" is out of Austin, TX and is one of the larger distributers of this very bile...but its the fact that our federal dollars are being pumped into falshoods and lies.


D.T. said...

You know I agree with you. It's so, so wrong to lie to kids to scare them into abstinence. All you can do is just be honest and hope for the best, you know? Misinforming them will only confuse them later on in life and end up hurting them in the long run.

D.T. said...

OMG! Today on The View, all the ladies found the same article you read and talked about it during their morning chat. And they actually did bring up a few good points. I thought it was interesting and thought you might want to know...

kizzy said...

Wow...That is cool, but i doubt that it will continue to get much press, if any. But then again I don't read mainstream press anymore. I've found that it doesnt do me any good and after reading/watching them I tend to want to curl up into the fetal position.

kambra rochelle said...

Terrifying is the only word I can think of to describe this. I'm so thankful to have had a high school health teacher who was a 25 year-old newlywed who did teach that abstinence was the only 100% effective contraceptive, but she also understood that some of us were going to be sexually active and didn't just preach fear. We did things like being divided into groups to research about and then give presentations on just about every form of birth control available.

Granted, I'm a lucky one.

kizzy said...

its difficult to keep fear and sex away from each other. that's the tough part. So much of the strange protestant ethic is tied up in how we treat sex. As a result, I think kids/Adolecents strike out against the fear-mongering just to be an attempt to rebel they only get themselves more confused

Greg said...

Well, abortion can sometimes make a woman sterile. This is one of the reasons Russia's birthrate is so dangerously low - Soviet birth control policy was basically all abortion, and a large percentage of women in Russia who had abortions before the fall are having great difficulty becoming pregnant now. Sadly, women still die occasionally from legal abortion in America today. The Washington Post did a story on Russia's problem in February 2003:

kizzy said...

I'm not disagreeing with the fact that when a woman has "too many" abortions (upwards of 5 or more) that it MAY lead to her infertility. However I have lots of problems with a medical fact being twisted in the way that it has here by The Medical Institute here to say that "all" women whom have abortions become sterile.

its more the context I suppose. Thanks for the insightful comment!