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In the view of our nation’s progressive elites, sexual obesity in children is the best solution to what currently ails them.
On January 28, the Wisconsin legislature passed Assembly Bill 458, as amended, a bill dealing with sex education. Both houses accepted Senate Amendment No. 1 that required schools to include the teaching of (1) criminal penalties for engaging in sexual activities with underage minors, and (2) legal requirements concerning convicted sex offenders. One of the sponsors of this amendment, State Sen. Glenn Grothman, issued a press release on February 2 in which he observed that Planned Parenthood had successfully objected to such a provision in November and continued to object to this amendment through December and January. In light of Planned Parenthood’s lobbying, he urged the state legislature to protect children from Planned Parenthood and reconsider state funding of Planned Parenthood to the tune of $12 million annually. (We should note here that Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chair, U.S. Senate Finance Committee, amended the Senate health care plan to include $400 million over five years on sex education.)
The children also need to be protected from the New York Times editors. On February 7, they objected to the Bush Administration requirement that abstinence sex ed include teaching “that abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the ‘expected standard’ for all school-age children.” The editors find this provision obnoxious. No, their objection is obnoxious. It ignores existing criminal penalties. Underage children cannot lawfully consent even to underage children, but Planned Parenthood and the New York Times editors refuse to state their real agenda: the removal of age limits on consent so that children can have the freedom to engage in sex.
The New York Times editorial concerned a study done by professors at the University of Pennsylvania published in this month’s issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and reported widely in the press. It is the only long-term study showing that an abstinence-only sex-ed program can delay sexual initiation.
I have read the article in Archives by J.B. Jemmott, Professor of Psychiatry, and others, entitled “Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months: A Randomized Controlled Trial with Young Adolescents.” I have not yet read the full report filed with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
There were 662 children involved in the study. Although the students’ average age at the start of the study was 12.2, their ages ranged at the start from 10 to 15.
The media accounts I have read do not report that only 563 students completed the two-year program. I assume the full report to the NIMH would detail how a loss of 15% of the students may have affected the results. The media also do not report that, at the start of the study, 23.4% had already experienced coitus (that is, vaginal intercourse) at least once. The Archives article does not state how many students might have already experienced oral or anal intercourse. It would not appear that any of these students who had already engaged in intercourse were excluded from participating in the study.
Over the next two years, the number of students within the “abstinence-only” group who experienced sexual intercourse increased to 33.5%. The number of students within the other three groups (a control group who were given no sex education, the students who were taught both abstinence and safe-sex, and the “safer-sex-only” group) who experienced sexual intercourse (presumably, vaginal, but the full report may reveal that it includes oral and anal) had increased to 48.5%.
The press focused on the significant difference between the “abstinence-only” group and the other groups. The press ignored the fact that the eight one-hour modules on “safer-sex” had no effect on either the use, or the consistent use, of condoms when compared to the control group.
That 10% of the “abstinence-only” group engaged in intercourse for the first time over a two-year period after they had received more than eight hours of instruction, when some of them were as young as 10 at the start, is hardly much cause for joy. And the doubling, to almost half, of the students in the other groups engaging in intercourse for the first time is troubling.
It will be interesting to examine the full report made to the NIHM to review the contents of the instruction given to these children and adolescents. (I wonder how much information about the content was conveyed to the parents who approved such instruction for their children as young as 10.) The article informs us that the instruction for all four groups consisted of eight one-hour modules (one group had 12 modules) with “a series of brief group discussions, videos, games, brainstorming, experiential exercises, and skill-building activities.”
As to the “abstinence-only” instruction specifically, it was intended to differ from conventional abstinence programs by not being moralistic or stressing the inadequacies of condoms.
The 8-hour abstinence-only intervention encouraged abstinence to eliminate the risk of pregnancy and STIs [sexually-transmitted infections] including HIV. It was designed to (1) increase HIV/STI knowledge, (2) strengthen behavioral beliefs supporting abstinence including the belief that abstinence can prevent pregnancy, STIs, and HIV, and that abstinence can foster attainment of future goals, and (3) increase skills to negotiate abstinence and resist pressure to have sex. It was not designed to meet federal criteria for abstinence-only programs. For instance, the target behavior was abstaining from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse until a time later in life when the adolescent is more prepared to handle the consequences of sex. The intervention did not contain inaccurate information, portray sex in a negative light, or use a moralistic tone. The training and curriculum manual explicitly instructed the facilitators not to disparage the efficacy of condoms or allow the view that condoms are ineffective to go uncorrected.
A few observations on this passage. First, since sex was not to be portrayed “in a negative light,” we may assume that there was no instruction on criminal penalties for engaging in sexual activities with underage minors or the legal requirements for convicted sex offenders. Second, the authors refer to “the belief that abstinence can prevent pregnancy, STIs, and HIV.” Frankly, it is not a belief but a fact that abstinence will prevent pregnancy, STIs and HIV; (of course, there are other ways to exchange bodily fluids). This would be consistent with the prior sentence, “The 8-hour abstinence-only intervention encouraged abstinence to eliminate the risk of pregnancy and STIs.” Third, the authors refer to delaying intercourse until later in life whereas the federal criterion for abstinence instruction is abstinence until marriage. The authors make it clear that, unlike risk behaviors of smoking and drugs, “the expectation is that people will eventually have sexual intercourse [before marriage].”
The editorial in Archives that accompanied the article in Archives cautioned policymakers against drawing too much from this one study based on the policymakers’ “preconceived ideologies.” This invites us to consider the “preconceived ideologies” of various parties associated with sex education in this country. Many proclaim that they are interested in “accurate information” — maybe accurate, but certainly not comprehensive. Doctor Miriam Grossman is a medical doctor in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry. In her 2009 book, You’re Teaching My Child What?, she recounts how the Montgomery County [Maryland] School Board provided Dr. Ruth Jacobs, an infectious disease specialist, with only two-minute opportunities to educate the board members. In the end, they did not want to hear about the findings from histology, physiology, anatomy, immunology, virology, microbiology, bacteriology, and epidemiology. They want to educate and protect the children under their care as much as Obama Administration Safe-Schools Czar Kevin Jennings. (See Jeffrey Lord, “Pelosi to Polanski to Jennings: Why Sean Hannity Is Right,” The American Spectator, Oct. 6, 2009.)
So, the Board ignored, and it will be interesting to see if the Archives’ study ignored in its “safer-sex” instructions, such science as Doctors Jacobs and Grossman try to impart:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online