Thursday, July 07, 2005

Virgins - part II

Today I will quote an article from "The Times" which is closely related to my previous post.

"Sherry Smith, a 50-year-old former nurse from Pasadena, LA, is on of thousands of teachers across US who are promoting a new - or very old, depending on how you look at it - kind of sex education: condoms are not what they're supposed to be, mutual masturbation can cause pregnancy, and girls who have sex run the risk of suicide.

Much to the despair of liberal Americans, the statistics suggest that these so-called "abstinence-only" campaigns are working. According to the US Health Department, the birth rate for American females between 15 and 19 years old was 43 per 1000 (2002) less than half the rate of 101.1 per 1000 (1995). Teenage boys seem to be listening too: only 31% has sex in 2001, down from 43% in 1995, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Critics, led by Californian Congressman Henry Waxman, say more than 80% of the abstinence-only curriculum contains "false, misleading or distorted information". Mr. Waxman's staff analyzed the content of abstinence pamphlets. One claimed falsely that up to 10% of women who had legal abortions would become sterile, another taught that women "need financial support", why men need "admiration". In many instances, their report says, religious views were presented as fact. Mr. Waxman's supporters say that abstinence programme have set back HIV-education efforts by decades, because they suggest that unprotected sex is only marginally les risky than sex with condom.

"When you empower the kids, and tell tem they don’t have to have sex, it’s a real eye opener for them," says Mrs. Smith. "Because what the teenagers see on the television - Ally McBeal having sex with a complete stranger in a car wash, for example - is telling them otherwise."

Mrs. Smith and the organization she works for, is funded by non-profit Right for Life League. It now hopes that California will loosen its restrictions on federal funding of abstinence-only sex programme. That will allow Mrs. Smith to claim some of the US 10 million pledged by President GW Bush, double the amount given in 2001 when he came into office. The money is available only where local government is willing to accept it, a decision that will ultimately rest with the governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger - not an obvious role model for teenage chastity.

Mrs. Smith says that she would love to see the government "completely trash that comprehensive sex education programme", which she says overplays the condoms' effectiveness at preventing sexually transited diseases. She believes that her most powerful weapons are her teachers. "They are young and good-looking, happy and healthy," she says. "Its not like they are miserable and fat"

Source: The Times

I have several unanswered questions regarding this article. How do they now that a good results in decresing teenage pregnancy are not the result of the comprehensive sex education programme (whatever it is)? If it is indeed result of the "abstinence-only" programme, did they ask American teenagers are they feeling happier, more self confident than before? Third, are they going to try and sell me their programm just like in commercials? They are all good-looking, happy and healthy while teenager who have sex are what - sick, unhappy and fat?

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