September 9, 2004

Texas looks to run up the score in the teen pregnancy game.

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at September 9, 2004 2:50 PM

Tracy directs our attention to the latest front in the sex education battles: proposed new textbooks for the state of Texas that make no mention of contraception.

Critics of the books, which will replace 11-year-old texts, said that they lack a discussion of condoms and contraception in violation of the curriculum requirement that health books "analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods."

With no discussion of condoms, will students be unprotected against STDs? Not at all! The new books apparently have many helpful suggestions:
For example, Holt, Rinehart and Winston's Lifetime Health lists 10 steps for students to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. The use of latex condoms is not one of them. Students are advised, however, to get plenty of rest.

Plenty of rest? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Later in the article, following the statistic that Texas has the highest number (not rate?) of teen pregnancies in the nation, we are told that "[s]upporters of abstinence-only programs said they need to be given time to work." Well, maybe—there's certainly no evidence currently that abstinence-only programs in any state has been effective in reducing teen pregnancy or STD infection. But maybe this isn't what the supporters mean when they talk about the programs working. Sure, we liberals may think of sex education as a public health measure, but the religious conservatives who back abstinence-only may think of it differently. Perhaps in their eyes, the true purpose of sex-ed is to instruct students on the sinfulness of sex, and teens who get pregnant or contract an STD are being punished for their sin—no need for the state to interfere with God's punishment! This would certainly explain why they don't seem to care very much about the evidence, or (in the case of the Bush administration) relax the standards for effectiveness for these programs.

Whatever their motives, thanks to the abstinence-only crowd we need never worry that ignorance, poverty, and disease have no advocates in politics.


Interesting that you mention Sun Myung Moon in the entry immediately following - since Moon has long been a fanatical proponent of abstinence. A Moon front group has already scooped some of the funding for abstinence ed in New Jersey, and they attempted to intercept CDC funding for aids education in Nigeria. (See Moonwatch at

Posted by: Geneva Hagen | September 12, 2004 11:13 PM
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