First, I guess he didn’t read my post from last Friday (But Abstinence Education Doesn’t Work!) where I talk about not only the concept of the education by why it has trouble, but he continues to intermingle two arguments.
I have consistently made the point in this discussion that abstinence works every time it is tried. In fact, it’s he that brings up the whole topic, and I don’t even touch it until comment 37. You see, this is more of his baggage. Let’s not talk about the topic at hand (whether there needs to be more children and whether abortion is murder) let’s instead talk about what I think is a grave injustice (that teenagers are having kids) and the thing that I think is the problem (the Bible and abstinence education).
I proceed to attempt to make the following point– there is only one 100% way to prevent STDs and pregnancy, that is abstinence. This gets mixed into the discussion of abstinence education and its effectiveness– two completely different topics.
Do I believe that abstinence education works? I believe that the problem with abstinence education is not their message, but the competing ones around it.
Meg Meeker, in her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters has the following points:
- Girls defer sexual activity if their parents disapprove of it, and they are less likely to be sexually active if their parents disapprove of birth control.1
- Girls with involved fathers wait longer to initiate sex and have lower rates of teen pregnancy. Teen girls who live with both parents are three times less likely to lose their virginity before their sixteenth birthdays.2
- 76 percent of teen girls said that fathers influenced their decisions on whether they should become sexually active.3
- 97 percent of girls who said they could talk to their parents had lower teen pregnancy rates.4
- 93 percent of teen girls who had a loving parent had a lower risk of pregnancy.5
What this says to me is that, contrary to two beliefs held by the pro-abortion side
- All kids have sex
- [Un]safe-sex education lowers the pregnancy rate
What really makes an impact on teens is their parents. In fact, I attempted to make this point in my post from the other day– parents saying that their kids will have sex are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are setting the expectation, and they’re setting it really low.
This is exactly what happens in [un]safe-sex ed. We tell the children that they are animals, and that we expect them to be animals, and then we give them something that attempts to prevent pregnancy but in turn leaves them vulnerable to physical and emotional damage. Physical in terms of STDs– a majority of which are passed skin to skin and are not covered by a condom. Emotional in terms of the feelings and baggage left behind by casual hookups and the cheapening of self-worth and sexual intercourse. We rob them of the joys of a long term committed relationship, and then wonder why they sleep around more.
So, to make sure I answer, I know that abstinence only education isn’t effective– that hasn’t been my point. My point has been that abstinence is effective– every time it’s tried. And that if we are truly out to protect teens the message that we should be giving them (from parents, to schools, to government, to Hollywood– the whole thing) should be to save sex until marriage. The culture needs to change– you can’t just change the education curriculum.
- R. P. Lederman, W. Chan, and C. Roberts-Gray, “Sexual risk attitudes and intentions of youth aged 12-14 years: Survey comparisons of parent-teen prevention and control groups,” Behavioral Medicine 29 (2004): 155-63
- Lee Smith, “The new welfare of illegitimacy,” Fortune, April 1994, 81-94
- Mark Clemens, Parade, February 2, 1997; E. M. Hetherington and B. Martin, “Family Interaction,” Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979): 247-302.
- Hetherington and Martin, “Family Interaction.”