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Bush Seeks Money for Abstinence Education
November 26, 2004 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Bush Seeks Money for Abstinence Education President Bush's re-election insures that more federal money will flow to abstinence education that precludes discussion of birth control, even as the administration awaits evidence that the approach gets kids to refrain from sex. Congress last weekend included more than $131 million for abstinence programs in a $388 billion spending bill, an increase of $30 million but about $100 million less than Bush requested. Meanwhile, a national evaluation of abstinence programs has been delayed, with a final report not expected until 2006.
posted by Postroad (63 comments total)

 
Meanwhile we can look forward to 4 more years of Bush fucking.

We could use some abstinence from the Boy Prince.
posted by nofundy at 7:41 PM on November 26, 2004


Bush wouldn't do something, unless he was sure it would work out though. Right?
posted by Arch Stanton at 7:43 PM on November 26, 2004


even as the administration awaits evidence that the approach gets kids to refrain from sex.
Are you kidding? This is not a fact-based administration. Haven't you learned that from MeFi yet?
posted by wendell at 7:51 PM on November 26, 2004


All the intelegence he has checked said this was a great idea.

When's the last time he ever asked how WE wanted something handled?
posted by Balisong at 7:53 PM on November 26, 2004


November 2nd, depressingly enough.
posted by Simon! at 8:03 PM on November 26, 2004


what a crappy post.
posted by erebora at 8:09 PM on November 26, 2004


What an invaluable, informative post. Next election, I will be sure to vote against Bush.
posted by orange clock at 8:21 PM on November 26, 2004


“We don't need a study, if I remember my biology correctly, to show us that those people who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant”

I remember something from that book … what’s it called … the bible … about some chick named Mary …
posted by kscottz at 8:24 PM on November 26, 2004


What good is health class if it doesn't involve the teacher putting a condom on a baseball bat? All kids should be able to experience that at least once. (I think for me it was once on a baseball bat, once on a water bottle.)
posted by hopeless romantique at 8:24 PM on November 26, 2004


Did your teacher use her mouth?
posted by Balisong at 8:26 PM on November 26, 2004


Condom Wars
posted by homunculus at 8:28 PM on November 26, 2004


What good is health class if it doesn't involve the teacher putting a condom on a baseball bat?

Just a banana for me, if I remember middle school.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:38 PM on November 26, 2004


As reported in the Washington Times, Washington Post, and CNN. Good thing we have it posted here, as well, for all the politically interested and involved readers who don't read any news sites ever.

(I can never remember, which is the Moonie rag, the Times or the Post?)
posted by Bugbread at 9:59 PM on November 26, 2004


(I can never remember, which is the Moonie rag, the Times or the Post?)

The Times is the Moonie rag. The Washington Post (or, as we affectionately call it, WaPo) is as respectable a newspaper as can be found in the US these days, which is, of course, damning with extremely faint praise.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:30 PM on November 26, 2004


I never saw the "putting on the condom" demonstration in school. Of course, I was suspended for a week during middle school sex-ed. Although, I think the only thing scheduled that week was the Miracle of Life video. So, still no idea where babies come from...

(I have to wonder about most sex-ed classes. Considering mine was taught by a football coach who spent almost all his time reading a magazine, it would seem my school didn't take it all that seriously.)
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 10:35 PM on November 26, 2004


Considering that they cut funding to national parks for visitor education so drastically that my friend's thesis, a perfect layman's guide to california coastal geology (even made me understand it ...!) is gathering dust on a shelf because they can't afford to peer-review it and couldn't publish it even if they could get someone to peer review it... this really pisses me off.
posted by SpecialK at 10:45 PM on November 26, 2004


So how are they going to spend this $131 mil? How can not screwing be so expensive?
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:46 PM on November 26, 2004


So, still no idea where babies come from...

Albuquerque.
posted by Bugbread at 10:53 PM on November 26, 2004


I'm glad to hear this and other issues of dire national importance are taking a front seat to the deficit.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 11:16 PM on November 26, 2004


George W. Bush was a virgin before he got married, right?
A drunken party-guy frat boy virgin?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:24 PM on November 26, 2004


Wouldn't you know, here's my sex-ed teacher! Apparently she's all famous now or something, if you're a sex-ed fan.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:45 PM on November 26, 2004


Too bad they are going to spend all that money on something that doesn't seem to work the way they think it does: New State Evaluations Show Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Programs Have Little Effect.
posted by Orb at 1:32 AM on November 27, 2004


George W. Bush was a virgin before he got married, right?

Probably, and now that he's stuck with Laura, he's taking his sexual frustration out on the world.
posted by madman at 3:08 AM on November 27, 2004


the problem is that teaching kids about abstinance only causes them to have sex anyway, and not know anything about condoms or whatnot, and get pregnant.
posted by delmoi at 4:05 AM on November 27, 2004


Maybe, they are trying to create an artificial baby boom in order to revive the economy. Someone along the way is going to have to pay for your tax cuts, so the more babies, the better.
posted by Timeless at 4:39 AM on November 27, 2004


what delmoi said.

Purposely withholding vital information ensures more unwanted pregnancies and stds. There is no proof that teaching abstinence actually results in teens abstaining, and plenty of proof that teens do actually have sex.
posted by amberglow at 5:33 AM on November 27, 2004


Research tends to show that abstinence education tends to cause a dramatic drop in sexual activity. For about six months, after that teens exposed to abstinence education tend to have a somewhat higher rate of sexual activity than teens with no exposure to any sort of Sex Ed. Watch carefully, the government will soon release (or endorse, or otherwise publicize) a study showing that abstinence education causes a dramatic decrease in sexual activity; the bit where it mentions that the study is a short term study will be buried on page 200 in the microprint.

There is an inverse correlation between Sex Ed funding and teen pregnancy rates. Areas where more money is spent on Sex Ed have lower teen pregnancy rates, areas where less money is spent have higher teen pregnancy rates. Texas, for example, has a horrifyingly high teen pregnancy rate, with Potter County (my home) having the highest in north Texas. Guess how much money Potter County spends on Sex Ed...

Holland, actually, is a perfect example of how to make Sex Ed really work. Until the mid 60's or 70's all Sex Ed in Holland was exactly what the government wants: all abstinence, no contraception. As a direct and obvious consequence Holland had one of the highest teen pregnancy and teen STI rates of any western European nation. Fed up with this, they switched to an intensive, fact based, Sex Ed program that starts in first grade and continues through high school. This has resulted in Holland, today, having one of the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and STI in western Europe. One other interesting fact about the sex lives of Holland's teens: the average age of first sexual contact for a Dutch teen is 17; in the USA the average age for first sexual contact is 15.
posted by sotonohito at 5:46 AM on November 27, 2004


Fed up with this, they switched to an intensive, fact based, Sex Ed program that starts in first grade and continues through high school. This has resulted in Holland, today, having one of the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and STI in western Europe.

That's been the case all over, i believe--realistic, practical sex ed works. It's proven to.
posted by amberglow at 5:51 AM on November 27, 2004


I suggest a new, bold and pragmatic approach:
if Congress makes sure that enormous -- and I mean enormous, a billion-dollar investment -- amounts of pornography (on DVD, VHS, DivX, whatever) are distributed mandatorily in every American school, teenage boys will be so exhausted by afternoon masturbation marathons that, by the time they go out with their girlfriends in the evening, they'll be way too exhausted have actual sex. then, they won't get STDs, nor will they provoke unwanted pregnancies.
(it'll also do wonders for the San Fernando Valley economy, Schwarzenegger will be pleased)

think about it, it certainly makes more sense than the "prayer is more fun than fucking" approach.
posted by matteo at 7:06 AM on November 27, 2004


If the administration was really serious about reducing the number of abortions performed each year perhaps they would devote the same amount of funds to teaching birth control as they propose to teaching abstinence.
posted by caddis at 7:10 AM on November 27, 2004


A friend who owned his own flat press a few years ago printed up a batch of bumper stickers which read Condoms Work Better Than Prayer. It is still the most concise rendering of opinion I have seen on the subject.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:23 AM on November 27, 2004


Faint, Debbie Roffman was my sex ed teacher too! We called her "The Sex Lady" and she wore leopard print, and none of us could imagine that she actually ever had sex.

In middle school I remember I gave a speech about why people should stop being so immature and uptight about sex, essentially for Debbie's benefit. In retrospect it occurs to me that my earlier attitude is the one that lacks sophistication-- people are always going to feel uncomfortable about the topic of sex, and cordon it off with taboos. It has nothing to do with immaturity, or cultural repression-- it's simply the way people are. Preaching unmitigated openness about sex is almost as futile as preaching abstinence to hormonal adolescents.

(1st post, BTW)
posted by mowglisambo at 8:01 AM on November 27, 2004


So how are they going to spend this $131 mil?

It will go to fund groups that teach abstinence-only sex-ed such as Youth For Christ.

A week before the election, TRIO TV channel ran a weeklong series of documentaries about Texas, including one called: Texas Teenage Virgins (which will be shown again on 12-21) which mainly focused on the teenagers of Lubbock Texas and how they are pressured into signing "Virginity Pledges." This is part of one of those federally funded abstinence-only groups.

But incredibly enough, not only do they preach that abstinence is the only way, in order to scare the teenagers into staying on the straight and narrow path, they teach them that condoms don't work. Condoms are man-made, woven from latex strands, so there are tiny microscopic holes in the condoms which allow the sperm and STD viruses to pass through. (Which comes as a big surprise to public health officials)

As a result of this misinformation, when the teens fall off the Virginity bandwagon ( and they usually do) they don't use condoms because they have been taught that condoms don't work.

Meanwhile the schools can't dispel this misinformation because it is against state law to teach about birth control in the public schools.

The very serious consequence of this is one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs in the nation. And this is what Bush & Co. is trying to do on a national level.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:34 AM on November 27, 2004


I think Cheney just wants to ensure a reliable supply of babies to eat.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:41 AM on November 27, 2004


teenage boys will be so exhausted by afternoon masturbation marathons that, by the time they go out with their girlfriends in the evening, they'll be way too exhausted have actual sex

Hm. Interesting theory; but it places 100% of the responsibility for teen sexual activity on the boys, and if this former teen girl's memory serves, it just ain't always that way. I mean, we are talking about teenagers, so no matter how long that afternoon session, if a young lady showed interest, the young man in question would certainly, um, exhibit renewed energy.
posted by Miko at 8:47 AM on November 27, 2004


A better man than I would resist the urge to vocalize his wish that George H. W. had taken abstinence more to heart.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:15 AM on November 27, 2004


I've never seen any statistics that support the idea that abstinence education leads to a decline, and eventually an end, to teen sex. Because to actually be effective, it'd have to be 100% effective. If it were only 99%, then I really hope that there is funding left to teach that 1 in a 100 about condoms and such, because you're still a person if you don't subscribe to state-sponsored propaganda about sex.
posted by mikeh at 9:38 AM on November 27, 2004


The very serious consequence of this is one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs in the nation. And this is what Bush & Co. is trying to do on a national level.

More uneducated, poor people means more votes for Repubs, and higher STD rates means more customers for the pharma corporations that own the Repubilcans.

Faith-based education is win-win! God Bless America or Shut Up.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:38 AM on November 27, 2004


, and higher STD rates means more customers for the pharma corporations

Yes, a grand plan to for higher std rates. That's what this is all about.

More uneducated, poor people means more votes for Repubs

Unless they move on to welfare, then it's more votes for the dems.

Funny how rhetoric can work both ways.
posted by justgary at 10:47 AM on November 27, 2004


Unless they move on to welfare, then it's more votes for the dems.

Clinton dismantled welfare, dear. *cough*

Ever hear of tongue-in-cheek? But you have to wonder who benefits from this faith-based silliness, because reality-based statistics have shown it clearly ain't society as a whole.

I wouldn't be surprised if pharma corporations are rubbing their hands. A larger market of disease and suffering means more profits. It works for war profiteers and look how they've done under Bush's Iraq campaign? Is this as much of a "rhetorical" stretch?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:07 AM on November 27, 2004


i dunno about you guys, but nothing gets me hotter than abstinence talk.
posted by Satapher at 11:24 AM on November 27, 2004


Yes, a grand plan to for higher std rates. That's what this is all about.

Hey, feel free to enlighten everyone as to "what this is all about". Why does the administration continues to push such a demonstrably failed idea?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:39 AM on November 27, 2004


This is almost as cool as the Catholic Church telling countries in Africa that condoms are full of holes and don't work. They really need more babies in Africa!

Honestly, America, step it up a little bit. The Church is totally out-classing you.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 12:56 PM on November 27, 2004


Well, "just say no" did wonders to eliminate drug abuse, so I don't see why it won't work for the sex thing too..... Right?
posted by spilon at 1:28 PM on November 27, 2004


Actually, the Catholic Church tells people in Africa that condoms are covered with HIV and cause AIDS. Meanwhile, there is a folk belief in Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure aids. As a consequence of this the number of raped children has skyrocketed. If I believed in hell, I'd believe there was a special place there for Pope John Paul II.
posted by sotonohito at 2:07 PM on November 27, 2004


...teenage boys will be so exhausted by afternoon masturbation marathons that, by the time they go out with their girlfriends in the evening, they'll be way too exhausted have actual sex.

I always assumed you were male, matteo, but this pretty much proves you were never a teenaged male. "Too exhaused to have sex"? Impossible!

With Bush, and with most government in general, follow the money. Who benefits financially by the decision to teach abstinance-only? That's why it's being done.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:29 PM on November 27, 2004


The behaviour of the Catholic Church in Africa certainly lends support for my theory that Christianity was highjacked by Satan shortly after Christ died.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:30 PM on November 27, 2004


The only thing that gets in the way of a male having constant sex is not fatigue, but the usually brief period of non-erectionality that occurs after an orgasm.

Honestly people, I expected better from Metafilter. This five dollar newbie and those five fresh fish are definitely offended.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 5:54 PM on November 27, 2004


I can't count how many young women I've seen that contracted HPV and say "but I always use protection."

Unfortunately, many secondary schools do not teach that condoms provide almost zero protection for Human Papilloma Virus, which I believe is the most common "STD" (and one of the most lethal).

Abstinence should be taught in schools, and they should teach that while condoms (very poorly) prevent pregnancies and other STDs, that teenagers are playing Russian roullete with their bodies when hooking up.

Maybe Jocelyn Elders had it right when she espoused masterbation. Speaking of, is Ann Coulter HOT or what???
posted by dancingbaptist at 8:42 PM on November 27, 2004


Unfortunately, many secondary schools do not teach that condoms provide almost zero protection for Human Papilloma Virus, which I believe is the most common "STD" (and one of the most lethal).

Can you provide sources that the protection level provided by condoms is "almost zero", and that HPV is "one of the most lethal" sexuality transmitted diseases?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:22 PM on November 27, 2004


Straight from the horse's mouth.
While this link supports my claims with regards to your question, I'm not sure why P.P. is minimalizing the morbidity and mortality of HPV, though... seems that the P.P. author has an agenda.
It is sad when emotional liberal agendas harm the health of impressionable young women who trust organizations like this for unbiased information.
It is also sad when right wing theocratic groups do the same... though I think that Planned Parenthood has much greater access, and responsibility, to the young women who trust them for good information.
For a less bitchy reference than the first, with the same information presented without an agenda, I refer you here.

I'm sorry, but I was just really put off by the author's slant on what is supposed to be an information page, not an editorial page, by Planned Parenthood. The author's logic implodes when she/he argues that most HPV strains do not lead to cervical cancer... true, but a few percent of several million is quite a raw number. Moreover, she/he discounts the morbidity of the virus in repeated paps, colposcopies, land leeps (and leeps make me cringe just to watch.) The author harms P.P. as a credible source for health information.
posted by dancingbaptist at 9:51 PM on November 27, 2004


dancingbaptist, I read both of your links, and even your second one states that a woman who gets regular pap smears has practically zero risk of developing cervical cancer as a result of HPV.

The information you present here would not lead me to conclude that I should stay abstinent, but that I should have regular check-ups.

And also that the more information I have on all of these subjects - STD's, what condoms do and do not protect against, proper medical care and treatment - the better. Abstinence-only education (which admittedly you have not recommended) would give me pretty much none of this information. A good comprehensive sex-ed program at least has a chance of doing so.
posted by kyrademon at 11:11 PM on November 27, 2004


Additionally, since HPV is spread via skin to skin contact, not via fluids, its pretty disingenuous to say that condoms are at fault. I'd compare it to someone arguing that we shouldn't teach children about using seat belts because they don't protect against car jacking. We should teach our children that the only way to completely prevent all traffic hazards is not to drive, while seat belts (very poorly) will prevent some traffic hazards they are playing russian roulette when they get behind the wheel.

And, just as abstinence ed programs have the measurable result of lowering condom use among teens, so too would the dancingbaptist program have the effect of lowering seat belt use. Great plan.
posted by sotonohito at 5:30 AM on November 28, 2004


sotonohito.... that has to be the most irrelevant, false, misconstrued argument I have ever heard. It has nothing to do with my post and in fact supports it. You put words into my mouth and make an irrelevant, false, analogy.

If we can only use logical fallacy to bolster our points of view, our points of view must be weak indeed.
posted by dancingbaptist at 7:59 AM on November 28, 2004


While this link supports my claims with regards to your question, I'm not sure why P.P. is minimalizing the morbidity and mortality of HPV, though... seems that the P.P. author has an agenda.

Somebody has an agenda here, that's for sure. You claimed two things:

(1) the protection level provided by condoms is "almost zero"
(2) HPV is "one of the most lethal" sexuality transmitted diseases

Neither of your links support these conclusions, and it appears that your main interest in posting the Planned Parenthood link was to take shots at them. It's all starting to smell a bit wingnutty.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:26 AM on November 28, 2004


Dancingbaptist: Please elaborate, you said that a) what I wrote had nothing to do with your post, but b) supports it. Could you explain in more detail please?

I fail to see how I was using any logical fallacies. You argued that teaching children to use condoms was bad because condoms did little to prevent a specific type of STI. Condoms do little to prevent that STI due to the fact that it is not fluid transmitted, and all condoms do is stop fluid transmission. Essentially you argue against condom education because condoms are not 100% effective, and do not work on all threats. I compared this to arguing against seat belt education because seat belts are not 100% effective, and do not work on all threats. Please show me the logical problem there.

Additionally, I'd find it interesting to know what field you work in given your claims of seeing countless young women with HPV who claim to always use protection. Unless you are a doctor, or similar health worker, I wonder about the honesty in that claim.
posted by sotonohito at 8:56 AM on November 28, 2004


Abstinence should be taught in schools, and they should teach that while condoms (very poorly) prevent pregnancies and other STDs, that teenagers are playing Russian roullete with their bodies when hooking up.

condoms do prevent pregnancies. What is the point of downplaying that?

HPV is hardly a "lethal" disease. Isn't it carried by something like half the female population? It's obviously better not to be exposed to it, and I don't see anything wrong with making kids aware of the actual dangers that do come with sexual activity, but exaggerating risks will only a)make it seem more exciting and illicit, which will not decrease activity and b) cause it to be easily dismissed when they discover that friends hooked up and aren't dying yet.

There are a number of factors to sexual activity that kids need to take into account. They shouldn't feel coerced into doing something they're not emotionally ready for; they should be fully aware of the balance of risks and benefits; and they should be shown how they can best minimize risk and maximize benefit should they choose to indulge. A teenager is learning to be an adult. It's crucial that in this phase, a teenager learns how to think for herself and make decisions that will be to her advantage. Coercion is not a path to responsibility. Information and a full awareness of one's autonomy over one's own body is what sex ed should really be about.
posted by mdn at 9:21 AM on November 28, 2004


Am I the only one who picked up on the fact that this person's moniker is "dancingbaptist"?

Also, it's spelt "masturbation".
posted by Kleptophoria! at 2:44 PM on November 28, 2004


I believe Jocylen pronounced it masteeeerrrrbation. Oh well, maybe I need to update firefox as the spellcheck button does not work on my version.
I am in health care. And yes I'm glad I'm not your doctor too.
Condoms do a shitty job of preventing pregnancy and STDs.
If you're going to clusterfuck everyone in your age group, it's better than nothing.
However, common sense and monogomy... or something like it, go a long way. And though I do have an Ann Coulter fantasy I have been in a monogomous relationship with my wife for over a decade... we are both 33 and each other's "first." She elects not to get pap smears because there is almost a zero percent chance for her getting cervical cancer because we haven't and don't fuck other people... and she is right. She is in health care too.
I used to believe all of this liberal activism bullshit until I went to medical school and saw how it destroys people from the inside out.
There are your pearls, "elite" .

A fair and balanced link

posted by dancingbaptist at 5:12 PM on November 28, 2004


"I am in health care" is a looooong way from your first claim of being a Doctor.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:28 PM on November 28, 2004


five fresh fish... Read The Entire Post!

I would hope I don't need to draw you a venn diagram.
Baylor College of Medicine, Class of 1998.
posted by dancingbaptist at 8:06 PM on November 28, 2004


Oddly, dancingbaptist, I've been sexually active for fifteen years, sometimes monogamously, sometimes nonmonogamouly, and sometimes in small groups, and I've never had a problem with unwanted pregnancy, or STD either. I could, of course, be astonishingly lucky. Along with everyone I've ever slept with. And everyone they've ever slept with. No doubt I am, to some degree. But possibly common sense and a good education also actually do go a long way.

I find your links unconvincing. "Insufficient evidence" fails to fill me with stark terror. Since the obvious solution to the problems you raise are more research and better education, I have no idea why you're taking such an antagonistic tone towards the people here who are basically advocating for the same thing.

If you have issues with partisan biases in commonly distributed sex education information, please link to actual studies which make your point, rather than vague news stories which at best support it weakly and at worst actually contradict what you're saying. If you do so courteously, people might actually listen to you and you could actually accomplish what you claim to want to do, which is spread correct information and protect people from harm.

If you're just going to continue to make vague prophecies of doom and be a jerk about it, please stop wasting everyone's time.
posted by kyrademon at 8:41 PM on November 28, 2004


dancingbaptist said: I used to believe all of this liberal activism bullshit until I went to medical school and saw how it destroys people from the inside out.
There are your pearls, "elite" .


??? What does any of that anger filled rant have to do with the subject at hand? Also, where is your explanation of the logical fallacies you claim I used to refute your earlier argument? "Pearls"? Does that word have some special meaning to you that I'm missing, because I don't get it.

You and I both know that there are people in America with a religo-political belief that sex, unless sanctioned by marriage, is bad. These people do not particularly care about either teen pregnancy or teen STI, and in fact several of them will express the belief that both pregnancy and STI are "the price for having sex outside wedlock". You may be among that group, at this point I'm inclined to think that you are, please correct me if I've gotten the wrong impression.

We both know that sex with a condom is vastly safer than sex without a condom. Of course abstinence or monogamy are safer, but on the risk scale sex with a condom beats sex without a condom every single time. Given that, I find it difficult to believe that you would support sex ed programs that discourage condom use. If every mention of condoms is in the context of failure, or ineffectivity, why would teens use them? In fact, one of the measurable results of abstinence education is a decrease in condom use among sexually active teens. Why would you support that?

Furthermore, contrary to the lies told by various religious fanatics, fact based sex education does not cause children to become sexually active earlier. In Holland, which has an intensive reality based sex-ed program, teens begin having sex two years *later* than US teens do. Why would you support a program that causes teens to have sex earlier?
posted by sotonohito at 10:32 AM on November 29, 2004


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