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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Henry Waxman needs re-education

Next year, Our Leader will spend 170 million dollars on abstinence education. Henry Waxman thinks that's a mistake and has released a new report (pdf) which claims that abstinence education doesn't work and that the various curricula currently in use are riddled with errors.

Waxman is obviously stuck in the mindset of the reality-based community. He hasn't accepted the fact that Our Leader's sweeping two percent victory gave Him a mandate to launch the Glorious Christian Cultural Revolution and the authority to declare new realities by executive fiat.

One doesn't need to read too far into the report to see that Waxman simply doesn't get it. On page eight, the reports claims that abstinence programs are not working because graduates are more likely to become pregnant and contract sexually transmitted diseases.

One recent study of abstinence-only programs found that they may actually increase participants' risk. Columbia University researchers found that while virginity "pledge" programs helped some participants to delay sex, 88% still had premarital sex, and their rates of sexually transmitted diseases showed no statistically significant difference from those of nonpledgers.15 Virginity pledgers were also less likely to use contraception when they did have sex and were less likely to seek STD testing despite comparable infection rates.16

In contrast, comprehensive sex education that both encourages abstinence and teaches about effective contraceptive use has been shown in many studies to delay sex, reduce the frequency of sex, and increase the use of condoms and other contraceptives.

Waxman might have a point if we were actually trying to limit pregnancy and STDs, but that's not our objective. We're only interested in ending sex.

Every teenage pregnancy and STD serves as a warning to other teenagers about the dangers of pre-marital sex. Once we reach a critical mass of teenagers with these problems, levels of pregnancy and disease will level off. We'll reach what I like to call the "bad-girl point of equilibrium" where the threat of disease and pregnancy will prevent a few teens from even thinking about having sex. Traditional sex education can't provide the same kind of results because the fear of disease and pregnancy is virtually extinguished.

The report goes on to document page after page of what it calls "inaccurate information" in abstinence curricula. Here are a few examples:

Several of the curricula that mention mental health concerns depict them as simple problems that can be fixed by abstaining from sexual activity.

Another curriculum erroneously includes "tears" and "sweat" in a column titled "At risk" for HIV transmission. 108

and my favorite:

The curriculum erroneously states that touching another person's genitals "can result in pregnancy."

I suppose that all depends on what you touch them with doesn't it? I'd hope that these educators aren't corrupting our children by using the word "penis." Perhaps that's the reason behind the ambiguity.

One of the most troubling things about the report is it's treatment of Fetus-Americans. It suggests that parts of the various curriculum are wrong because they call our youngest citizens, "babies."

One curriculum that describes fetuses as "babies" describes the blastocyst, technically a ball of 107 to 256 cells at the beginning of uterine implantation, 70 as "snuggling" into the uterus:

"After conception, the tiny baby moves down the fallopian tube toward the mother's uterus. About the sixth to tenth day after conception, when the baby is no bigger than this dot (.), baby snuggles into the soft nest in the lining of the mother's uterus.71"

Another teaches: "At 43 days, electrical brain wave patterns can be recorded, evidence that mental activity is taking place. This new life may be thought of as a thinking person."72

The report is also critical of traditional ideas about gender roles. It's as if Waxman wants to encourage our children to rebel against God's natural order.

One curriculum instructs: "Women gauge their happiness and judge their success by their relationships. Men's happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments."77 This curriculum also teaches:

"Men tend to be more tuned in to what is happening today and what needs to be done for a secure future. When women began to enter the work force at an equal pace with men, companies noticed that women were not as concerned about preparing for retirement. This stems from the priority men and women place on the past, present, and future."78

Another curriculum lists "Financial Support" as one of the "5 Major Needs of Women," and "Domestic Support" as one of the "5 Major Needs of Men." 79 The curriculum states:

Just as a woman needs to feel a man's devotion to her, a man has a primary need to feel a woman's admiration. To admire a man is to regard him with wonder, delight, and approval. A man feels admired when his unique characteristics and talents happily amaze her."80


One book in the "Choosing the Best" series presents a story about a knight who saves a princess from a dragon. The next time the dragon arrives, the princess advises the knight to kill the dragon with a noose, and the following time with poison, both of which work but leave the knight feeling "ashamed." The knight eventually decides to marry a village maiden, but did so "only after making sure she knew nothing about nooses or poison." The curriculum concludes:

"Moral of the story: Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess.84"

Finally, one of the things that the report singles out for criticism is the story of "speedy the sperm." I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, I'd like to see it made into a movie.

One such example is that of "speedy the sperm." One curriculum draws an analogy between the HIV virus and a penny and compares it to a sperm cell ("Speedy the Sperm"), which on the same scale would be almost 19 feet long. The curriculum asks, "If the condom has a failure rate of 14% in preventing "Speedy" from getting through to create a new life, what happens if this guy (penny) gets through? You have a death: your own."

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