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Bitter Pill
October 18, 2007 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Portland, ME school board approves distribution of birth control at King Middle School, where students are as young as 10. Students must have a signed parental permission slip to use the student health center, unless a student requests confidentiality, in which case birth control pills could be prescribed without a parent's knowledge.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér (177 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
ABC News told me to impregnate someone.
posted by item at 3:38 PM on October 18, 2007


Good.
posted by NoMich at 3:41 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm sure if a 10 year old asked for birth control, it would raise some red flags.... (or, at least I hope it would)
posted by Debaser626 at 3:41 PM on October 18, 2007


In the meantime, Bush appoints someone to be in charge of the family planning program at Health and Human Services. Only one problem; she is opposed to contraception.
posted by Nelson at 3:42 PM on October 18, 2007


Yawn. They already had condoms available, so the girls are getting equal treatment. Good for them. Where's the news?

I enjoyed fark's comment on this one: Now the teachers won't have to worry about getting their students pregnant.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:42 PM on October 18, 2007


That's great.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 3:42 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm all for keeping kids from having kids. But we live in a freaky world. This same school probably refuses to hand out aspirin out of fear of legal action. Birth-control pills are A-OK, though.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:44 PM on October 18, 2007


"Five King students, ages 14 and 15, reported having sexual intercourse last year, said Amanda Rowe, head nurse for Portland schools.

In the last four years, Portland's three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies, not counting miscarriages or terminated pregnancies that weren't reported to the school nurse, Rowe said."
posted by ericb at 3:45 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm all for keeping kids from having kids. But we live in a freaky world. This same school probably refuses to hand out aspirin out of fear of legal action. Birth-control pills are A-OK, though.

Well, I doubt it. I mean, different schools have different rules, and I don't think that the kind of people who would vigorously enforce a no-aspirin policy would also support this king of thing, but who knows.

But anyway, I don't have a problem with this. If you want your pre-teens to get pregnant, move to Alabama or somewhere they try to ban that sort of thing, because it'll (be more likely to) happen.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2007


Cjorgensen, the news to me was that 10 year olds would have access to birth control, male or female. We live in a country where some pharmacists refuse to fill birth control prescriptions for adults, yet a 10 year old can get it without her parents' knowledge.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 3:49 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Without a parent's knowledge" bothers me in this case, but a lot less than it would bother me if a student health center didn't offer essential services to kids on ideological grounds. Besides, the pill is often prescribed for reasons other than birth control.
posted by litfit at 3:51 PM on October 18, 2007


What effect, if any, does distribution of free contraceptives to pre-teens have on the rate of sexual activity among those pre-teens?
posted by The World Famous at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2007


Well, it's nice to see somebody in Portland has half a brain.

Too bad the taxes in Maine are out of control, and there aren't any jobs. I'd move there in a split second. (What other states have two Republican, pro-choice senators?)
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2007


And Peter Doyle, a former middle-school math teacher now living in Portland, argued that the privacy component "is really a violation of parents' rights."

Somehow, I found what he said to be particularly unsettling, though I can't put a finger on exactly why that is.
posted by Weebot at 3:53 PM on October 18, 2007


What effect, if any, does distribution of free contraceptives to pre-teens have on the rate of sexual activity among those pre-teens?

Who cares? That's the wrong question. The real question is, what does it do to the rates of STDs and pregnancy. And in every study I've seen, it lowers them.

I care whether they're having sex a lot less than I care about whether they're spreading STDs or having children.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:54 PM on October 18, 2007 [13 favorites]


The World Famous, I don't think it has any effect. I think they are just trying to avoid pregnancies at this point, having given up on getting the children to not have sex. Believe me, I am all for teaching sex education in middle school, but to throw up your hands at pre-teen pregnancies and allow ALL students access to birth control is unsettling.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 3:55 PM on October 18, 2007


"This same school probably refuses to hand out aspirin out of fear of legal action. Birth-control pills are A-OK, though."

Stop being retarded.
posted by klangklangston at 3:56 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


As for aspirin: I always thought that Reye's syndrome was the predominant reason why we don't give aspirin to children in school.
posted by Weebot at 4:01 PM on October 18, 2007


Oops ... that quote is from a Portland Press Herald newspaper article.
posted by ericb at 4:02 PM on October 18, 2007


Why shouldn't all students have access to birth control?
posted by liquorice at 4:02 PM on October 18, 2007


I am all for teaching sex education in middle school, but to throw up your hands at pre-teen pregnancies and allow ALL students access to birth control is unsettling

That's nice. The retardation is spreading.
posted by item at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2007


...the news to me was that 10 year olds would have access to birth control

Actually, it's "grades 6 to 8, when students are 11 to 15 years old."*
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm confused, don't you need a prescription?
posted by empath at 4:04 PM on October 18, 2007


This just in: Adolescent Male Latex Allergies Skyrocket in Portland, MN.
posted by basicchannel at 4:05 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


What effect, if any, does distribution of free contraceptives to pre-teens have on the rate of sexual activity among those pre-teens?

Who cares?

I do, as do millions of parents and other responsible adults who understand that sexual activity during those years has a profound effect on psychological and social development. Hormone-based birth control during puberty can't possibly be a good idea, either.

I care whether they're having sex a lot less than I care about whether they're spreading STDs or having children.


If you don't care if 12 year olds are having sex, you should not have any input on policy regarding 12 year olds.
posted by The World Famous at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


We live in a country where some pharmacists refuse to fill birth control prescriptions for adults, yet a 10 year old can get it without her parents' knowledge.

"Honey, when you go to school today, can you pick me up some birth control pills? I'll make your favorite meal for dinner if you do!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


totally good. i hope they have good and practical sex-ed too--not abstinence-only, which doesn't work.
posted by amberglow at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2007


I assume the boys already get free condoms?
posted by furtive at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2007


Kids can be sexually functional and active, albiet emotionally unprepared, at 10. At 10, I never got in trouble for having sex. I was busted trying to steal condoms (not available for sale to a kid in malaysia, I wasn't just stealin for the extra fun of it...this time), so we did without. YMMV
posted by nomisxid at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2007


Hormone-based birth control during puberty can't possibly be a good idea, either.

The article states that they only prescribe the pill to postpubescent girls.
posted by Weebot at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2007


"in trouble for having sex" really should read "busted during the act of having sex".
posted by nomisxid at 4:13 PM on October 18, 2007


Ok, I can see how the idea that 14 and 15 year olds having protected sex with each other could be disturbing to some, but a more important concern is are they having good sex?

I suggest we get them some training manuals, maybe a copy of the Kama Sutra, and let them get the idea that sex isn't bad early on.

Because, as long as protection is involved and the kids aren't putting themselves at undue risk of STDs or unwanted pregnancies, I could these kids growing up into people who aren't afraid of sex. And if there is one thing this country could benefit from, it's a whole lot more people who don't view sex as being villainous or evil.
posted by quin at 4:13 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]



...the news to me was that 10 year olds would have access to birth control

Actually, it's "grades 6 to 8, when students are 11 to 15 years old."*


The second page of the linked article says that they will not be prescribed for students who have not gone through puberty.
posted by frobozz at 4:13 PM on October 18, 2007


I don't really see it as throwing up our hands per say. If a parent has failed the kid enough that they are having sex at ten years old what options are there? You are going to deny them the birth control? How about removing them from the family? putting them in a chastity belt? There is something wrong in the family dynamics if this is happening.

A problem, in a larger sense is we expect our school systems to do so many things. School is not just about education, it is also about providing recreation sports/clubs, providing lunches for kids who are poor, sometimes providing the only health care the kid receives, counseling services, security, teaching not only the "Three Rs" to "normal" white English speakers, but to kids with special needs, to non English speakers, teaching kids some sense of morals, sex education, drivers education... the list goes on. Schools are not just about books and classrooms. So when people complain about the high price of education I have to sneer at them. If all these services where broken out to different agencies just imagine the cost.
posted by edgeways at 4:13 PM on October 18, 2007


...I could see these kids...
posted by quin at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2007


They are having sex anyway. providing protection only makes sense.
posted by Megafly at 4:15 PM on October 18, 2007


"If you don't care if 12 year olds are having sex, you should not have any input on policy regarding 12 year olds."

Yeah, that's exactly what he said.

How about this—You stop being retarded too.
posted by klangklangston at 4:16 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Leaving out totally my shock and horror about students this age having sex...do any of you remember actually BEING that age? And how irresponsible and unthinking kids that age can be? And then you want them to have access to medication that their parents won't know about? Nor probably their regular pediatricians?

These kids won't think about drug interactions. Or about how some antibiotics can reduce the efficacy of the pill. In short, there is a REASON parents need to know if their minor children are on medications.

And don't let me get started on the sheer hypocrisy of the fact these same kids cannot get their ears pierced without a parent.
posted by konolia at 4:18 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Daily presciption drugs without the parents' knowlege. Sure, no med safety issues there. What kind of idiot MD/NP are they going to find to write that script?
posted by klarck at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2007


Oops, on post preview, konolia etc.
posted by klarck at 4:20 PM on October 18, 2007


When I was in seventh grade, I was trying not to get beat up by the boys in my class, not trying to have sex with them.
posted by Lucinda at 4:21 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ayuh, they'll do that.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:21 PM on October 18, 2007


Getting your ears pierced and having a baby are two very different things, konolia.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:22 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm sure if a 10 year old asked for birth control, it would raise some red flags

Is that what they're calling it these days? I remember raising a few red flags when I was ten, knamean? Holla!
posted by Peter H at 4:23 PM on October 18, 2007


I do, as do millions of parents and other responsible adults who understand that sexual activity during those years has a profound effect on psychological and social development.

I'm fairly certain that there is far more sexual activity—not just full-on intercourse, mind you—going on during the ages of 10-14 than the culture is willing to admit. Thinking of children having any sort of sexuality is taboo, and it only enters the discourse when the words "rape" and/or "abuse" are brought into it. If I had Judith Levine's Harmful to Minors in arms reach, I'd be citing prodigiously from that right now.
posted by Weebot at 4:23 PM on October 18, 2007


I know it's going to be a good thread when the topic comes up independently in a meeting at work.

Kids discover their genitals at varyingly early ages. Some of them are clever or educated enough (by whatever means) to figure out how to use 'em together. Hiding birth control from the enterprising ones who might actually need it seems blindered and harmful; supposing that the majority of the kids who aren't getting it on (or even getting close) will be sexually corrupted and empowered by the availability of something they won't have use of for another x years isn't much better.

You can't make kids not fuck by pretending they don't. If worse harm to those that do is worth the maintenance of your denial on the subject, please don't make policy on childhood sexuality.
posted by cortex at 4:27 PM on October 18, 2007 [9 favorites]


Konolia, I certainly share your horror at the fact that kids that age are having sex, but "shock"? Really?
As in you didn't know?
You do realize that's a big part of the problem, right?
posted by 2sheets at 4:29 PM on October 18, 2007


supposing that the majority of the kids who aren't getting it on (or even getting close) will be sexually corrupted and empowered by the availability of something they won't have use of for another x years isn't much better.

Is asking whether or not that is statistically true ok?
posted by The World Famous at 4:32 PM on October 18, 2007


This is my town. Note that "Contraception would be prescribed after a physical examination by a physician or nurse practitioner and would include follow-up care" and that this middle school has a health center. This is not a case of school nurses in middle schools handing out contraceptives like candy. I seem to recall that my son was given tylenol at school if he went to see the nurse.

I haven't seen any information saying that available contraception encourages kids to have sex. Sex in middle school is too young in my book, but recognizing that some of these kids are are having sex and seeking contraception and providing contraception in the context of a health clinic setting, makes sense.

We live in a weird culture. Young girls wear sexy clothing at very young ages, sex is used to sell everything, then we freak out over helping sexually active kids to be responsible. I think they made the right decision, and the school nurse who started this deserves to be commended.
posted by theora55 at 4:41 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


I assume the boys already get free condoms?

"The King Student Health Center, which is operated by the city's Public Health Division, has provided condoms as part of reproductive health care since it opened in 2000."*
posted by ericb at 4:41 PM on October 18, 2007


Do you have stats showing that condoms and the pill do turn awkward, socially confused asexuals sexually active? No, I've got no science to drop, but I find the idea pretty implausible on the face of it. It's been a while since I was a pre-teen, but not that long. People are people; they grow and stumble along their own respective paths largely according to the forces of their parents and their peers, not the corrupting influence of inanimate objects—the idea that condoms or birth control would make otherwise sexually-inactive kids have sex seems about as believable as the idea that the right shoes or jacket would make a nerd suddenly cool.
posted by cortex at 4:44 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I am troubled by the idea of secret prescriptions being handed out without the kids' parents or primary health care physicians being consulted/notified. I am not against kids having access to contraception, even without parental consent, but I don't this should be allowed without a consult from the child's pediatrician.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:45 PM on October 18, 2007


You can't make kids not fuck by pretending they don't.

I can't guide my own child if I'm out of the loop. It has nothing to do with ignoring reality, I can't do my job as a parent if I'm unaware.
posted by Mblue at 4:48 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's need for much hand-wringing. Any use of this policy is taking place within a supervised medical context. It's not as though the pills will be in a gumball dispenser.

This school in Portland has a large Student Health Center, not just a nurse's office, and people who work there were interviewed on the radio today. They are providing a spectrum of care that is not easily available to a lot of their student population elsewhere, largely due to the students' poverty. Read in the Portland Press-Herald
Of 134 students who visited King's health center during the 2006-07 school year, five students, or 4 percent, reported having sexual intercourse, said Amanda Rowe, lead nurse in Portland's school health centers.

"This is a service that is totally needed," Rowe said. "It's about very few kids, but they are kids who don't have the same opportunities and access as other students."
A teen girl who approaches a school nurse and invokes confidentiality is taking a careful, thoughtful action that is somewhat intimidating, and is no doubt going to get a serious and attentive evaluation from that health care professional. School nurses have seen it all. I think it's very easy for people who are mainstream, responsible parents to lose sight of the kinds of life situations that kids in poor urban (or for that matter, poor rural schools) experience every day. This service was asked for because it is needed, not to get social conservatives something to watch on Fox News today. According to today's Herald, here is how the process would work:
Contraception would be prescribed after a physical examination by a physician or nurse practitioner and would include follow-up care, Belanger said.

Types of prescription birth control available through the health centers include contraceptive pills, patches or injections, as well as the morning-after pill.

King is the only one of Portland's three middle schools with a health center, primarily because it has more students who get free or reduced-price lunch, Belanger said.
In other words, this isn't about sex. This is about recognizing a reality of public health, and about preserving the ability of young people not to permanently impact their schooling and their lives by becoming parents at a young age.

If a parent is concerned about their own children, all they can do is have conversations about it. If your relationship with your child is good, they'll be able to discuss this with you. If it's not so good, they might not talk with you about it, or they might do the time-honored thing and lie about what's going on in among their peers and in their school about sex. In any case, this policy does not exist for families in which realistic conversations about sex happen normally; those are the families in which moms take their girls to the gyno early on and make sure they know what's what. It exists for families in which there is violence, neglect, the rule of silence, messed-up relationships, shame, denial, and/or abuse. If you think kids shouldn't have sex, then let your own kids know that. As for the rest of us, we'd like to do something that's likely to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and help girls get through their educations, with the added benefit of giving them at least a couple of caring adults who know the real story about what's going on in their lives.
posted by Miko at 4:49 PM on October 18, 2007 [16 favorites]


The FPP is misleading: parents can absolutely still ensure that their children don't get birthcontrol from the clinics. The kids can only go to the clinics if the parents sign a permission slip. If they don't sign, then no clinic, no birth control. If they do allow their children to go to the clinic, then state confidentiality rules allow the children to get birth control without their parents' knowledge.
posted by footnote at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2007


"...experts argue that the combination of more kids delaying sexual activity and more use of contraception once they become sexually active has accounted for the drop in teen pregnancies and abortions over the past 15 years. Maine Middle schoolers, like kids all across the country, are already postponing sex longer: The percentage who reported having sexual intercourse dropped from 23% in 1997 to 13% in 2005, according to the Maine Youth Risk Behavior Survey. While rates of sexually transmitted disease remain alarmingly high, the best chance of attacking the problem would transmit the values and the facts together, rather than implying that the two are at odds."*
posted by ericb at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2007


And just a year from finishing middle school, let's look at the statistics.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that nearly half of all high school students have had sexual intercourse. According to this survey, 30 percent of ninth-grade girls are having sex."*
posted by ericb at 4:53 PM on October 18, 2007


I can't guide my own child if I'm out of the loop. It has nothing to do with ignoring reality, I can't do my job as a parent if I'm unaware.

Absolutely. But start with the premise that you are unaware, because for whatever reason your child is not revealing to you what they are up to. The question then becomes one of what you'd prefer the circumstances to lead your child to conceal from you:

- protected sex
- unprotected sex

I imagine it's weird and terrifying being a parent, in some respects, but this is a simple truth: kids hide shit from their parents. What is being hidden, and how often and how profoundly, certainly varies from kid to kid, but they're bona fide human beings who are very capable of developing their own independent bad ideas no matter how much that fact is scary to contemplate. Creating an environment that minimizes the direct harm that results from the things they do that they hide from their parents seems like a good idea.
posted by cortex at 4:56 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


According to this survey, 30 percent of ninth-grade girls are having sex.

It's probably significantly higher, considering how notorious self-reporting is in sexual matters (girls underreporting, boys overreporting.)
posted by Weebot at 4:57 PM on October 18, 2007


Do you have stats showing that condoms and the pill do turn awkward, socially confused asexuals sexually active?

No. But I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that there are many young people who are not sexually active who are also not asexual.

People are people; they grow and stumble along their own respective paths largely according to the forces of their parents and their peers

I agree. And when their parents and adult authority figures send the message that they believe that all of the children are having sex, I believe that influences the path.

the idea that condoms or birth control would make otherwise sexually-inactive kids have sex seems about as believable as the idea that the right shoes or jacket would make a nerd suddenly cool

I don't know that anyone thinks that the inanimate objects are the things doing the influencing. It is, I believe, a question of what societal and moral norms are communicated to children by authority figures. I am curious as to whether the message that is sent through these kinds of programs actually does affect sexual activity rates. Based on my own memory of being that age, I suspect that now, as then, many children are influenced by what they perceive to be adults' expectations of their behavior. While it might be easy to divide kids up conceptually as "good kids" and "bad kids," I don't think it breaks down so easy, and I do believe there is a significant number of kids who will be more likely to have sex if they believe that it is acceptable to authority figures if they do so. But again, I would like to know if that's actually true or not.
posted by The World Famous at 4:58 PM on October 18, 2007


but I don't [think] this should be allowed without a consult from the child's pediatrician

Of course, this would be a problem if the child doesn't have a regular pediatrician. So I guess in the cases where this health center is already providing for the children and so have a medical history to start out with, there wouldn't be much likelihood of conflicts. I just worry about drug interactions if the students have various prescriptions coming from completely independant and uninformed sources. This is not something that a routine physical would be expected to discover if the student isn't forthcoming.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2007


And when their parents and adult authority figures send the message that they believe that all of the children are having sex,

How in the world do you interpret this as meaning that the adults are saying that "all of the children are having sex"? I see it as a message that "you can get comprehensive health care here, and if you are having sex you should be responsible and we will help you do so."
posted by footnote at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2007


I hear you. But I find this:

when their parents and adult authority figures send the message that they believe that all of the children are having sex

to be badly at odds with this:

Rowe said that patients fill out an 18-point health history form and risk questionnaire. If a student indicates that they are having sexual relations, the "discussion begins and includes a strong counseling component" said Rowe.

"We talk about consequences of early sexual activity on bodies and minds. We argue strongly that the kids should talk to a parent or an adult that they trust."


Admitting and trying to deal responsibly with the fact that some kids are having sex or fooling around in the border areas is a far cry from sending a message that they believe all of the children are having sex. The difference, as I see it, is between reality and hysteria.

It's the cost of letting the kids get in worse trouble because there's no tolerance or support for their sexual bullheadedness, vs. the benefits of trying to reduce the chance of validating sexual behavior by discussing sexual reality honestly and openly.
posted by cortex at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


(That is, suppressing said discussion in hopes of reducing the chance of validation.)
posted by cortex at 5:11 PM on October 18, 2007


I think teaching abstinence-only sex ed is the right thing to do in this country. Sure, we have research that shows it is ineffective. That's the whole point.

You have to be out of your mind to have children when you're an adult. They're just too expensive. In this century, you're faced with a choice: do I want to own my own home and eat something nicer than cat food when I retire, or do I want to have children? A child is not cheap. You could buy a decent car just for the price of the delivery, and by the time they're college age it'll cost upwards of $500k to send them to a reputable university. The declining birth rate for US citizens tells us that more and more adults are making the sane choice.

Teens don't realize this yet. That's why we need them to do the breeding to make the next generation of the underclass. Abstinence does a great job of ensuring that youths are so confused about sex, they'll just assume that everything adults have told them is a lie and commence fucking with gusto (and sans protection).

It all makes sense, much like our drug policy, which does a great job of ensuring that Americans consume as many illegal drugs as possible.
posted by mullingitover at 5:15 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


My parents took the position that birth control was a non-negotiable right for their kids, and discussed it with my sisters when they got the birds-and-bees talk at a ripe young age. None of them turned out to be sex-crazed maniacs, in fact they're all intelligent, employed, and pursuing post-secondary education.

A very significant number of kids become sexually active at 10-14. This isn't unusual, unhealthy, or unnatural... the whole point of puberty and its ensuing horomone explosion is to MAKE BABIES. The Judeo-Christian sex ethic has definitely clouded our approach to the topic, but it's simple: when sexually active kids are stuck in a poor parenting situation it becomes a public health issue.
posted by mek at 5:19 PM on October 18, 2007


"Kids are growing up so fast these days… and that's why the legal age of consent should be lowered to fifteen. Some sixteen year-old kid with zits all over his face who pops after twenty seconds gets to fuck them, but I 'm a grown man with skills. That 's selfish!"

- Louis CK

(shamefully recycled from a previous comment I made)
posted by basicchannel at 5:22 PM on October 18, 2007


Another reason why I will not send my children to public schools. You folks conduct your social experiments on the public school kids all you want. We will see how everything shakes out, since it's all such great social policy.
posted by Slap Factory at 5:24 PM on October 18, 2007


Seriously, I think a lot of the problem comes from the fact that puberty is happening much earlier than it did in the olden days, and our culture is failing/refusing to adjust to this.
posted by mullingitover at 5:26 PM on October 18, 2007


Yikes that's young. Good for the school for being realistic and actually concerned about the students (rather than their own moral imperative).

Still... 10?!
posted by spiderskull at 5:32 PM on October 18, 2007


I agree, Cortex.
posted by The World Famous at 5:35 PM on October 18, 2007


Do you have stats showing that condoms and the pill do turn awkward, socially confused asexuals sexually active?

Man, I had a crusty old rubber rubbing a circular groove into my wallet from the age of 12 to 16 just . . . y'know . . . in case.

Didn't do one goddamned bit of good. Little John of Michigan didn't see any front-line combat because of that trojan.

The idea that handing out jimmyhats will turn the vast majority of teens in sexmachines is patently ridiculous.
posted by John of Michigan at 5:44 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Another reason why I will not send my children to public schools. You folks conduct your social experiments on the public school kids all you want. We will see how everything shakes out, since it's all such great social policy.

Oh, yeah. That brings back some memories.

We public-school adolescent guys used to wish we went to Catholic school. Where the bad girls got sent when they were caught doing nasty stuff in the bathroom. Where there were a whole lot of pregnant girls. More so than in our godless secular librul atheist public school

Yeah, good luck with sending your kids to private schools.
posted by John of Michigan at 5:47 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


My only concern with this is that these girls are receiving proper education on the difference between the protection offered by birth control and condoms. I knew many girls in high school who believed that the only negative consequence of sex was the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy.
posted by lalex at 5:48 PM on October 18, 2007


Another reason why I will not send my children to public schools. You folks conduct your social experiments on the public school kids all you want. We will see how everything shakes out, since it's all such great social policy.

Ah, this made me chuckle, given the number of private-school sex freaks I met freshman fall in college - they all seemed to have much more experience than the kids I'd gone to public school with.
posted by rtha at 6:04 PM on October 18, 2007


Another datapoint: I picked up nearly all my vices in uber-religious private school.
posted by mullingitover at 6:12 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm fairly certain that there is far more sexual activity—not just full-on intercourse, mind you—going on during the ages of 10-14 than the culture is willing to admit.

I absolutely know there was a fair bit of sexual activity going on when I was in middle school (13-ish years ago). If I was hearing about the blow jobs in seventh grade, I can easily imagine that there a fair bit of other sex going on that everybody didn't know about. I wasn't participating, but it was certainly going on among the "cooler" kids in my social circle. And while I totally understand that parents feel panicky about being out of the loop about this, if your 13 year old is sexually active, I'm willing to bet you'd be pretty wildly out of that loop anyway.
posted by mostlymartha at 6:15 PM on October 18, 2007


We public-school adolescent guys used to wish we went to Catholic school. Where the bad girls got sent when they were caught doing nasty stuff in the bathroom.

You assumed Catholic from private, but a good guess. I went to Catholic school. The girls wore checkered skirts.

I have a camouflage kink.
posted by Mblue at 6:19 PM on October 18, 2007


I wasn't participating, but it was certainly going on among the "cooler" kids in my social circle.

Because middle school gossip is always true. Particularly with regard to sex.
posted by The World Famous at 6:23 PM on October 18, 2007


Puberty is happening earlier and earlier too nowadays-- from 97: American girls reaching puberty earlier, new national study shows, and 2001: Research: U.S. boys also reaching puberty earlier than in past years
posted by amberglow at 6:29 PM on October 18, 2007


Because middle school gossip is always true. Particularly with regard to sex.

When they're doing it under the blanket at a party or in the tents at a sleepover, and your sitting there listening to it, or when it's the infamous and obvious blow job in a movie theater, I don't think that qualifies as gossip. I didn't want to see it, but that doesn't mean I didn't have to.
posted by mostlymartha at 6:30 PM on October 18, 2007


"Another reason why I will not send my children to public schools. You folks conduct your social experiments on the public school kids all you want. We will see how everything shakes out, since it's all such great social policy."

Oh, you bring such mirth to my shriveled old heart. We'll see how your control group does too. Just remember that immaculate conception's a myth.

"I absolutely know there was a fair bit of sexual activity going on when I was in middle school (13-ish years ago). If I was hearing about the blow jobs in seventh grade, I can easily imagine that there a fair bit of other sex going on that everybody didn't know about. I wasn't participating, but it was certainly going on among the "cooler" kids in my social circle."

Well, actually, no. Everyone assumes there's a lot of sex but there's little verifiable evidence of it. Only tiny percentage of the overall school in Portland is sexually active.
posted by klangklangston at 6:31 PM on October 18, 2007


Oh, I don't doubt that it's a very, very small portion of kids having sex at that age, but I also don't doubt that they're having it. At that age, a big part of the point was doing stuff in contexts where other kids could see you. It was a weird status thing, I guess, and indeed, it was mostly among the same less than a dozen kids. I don't think anyone assume there's heaps of sex going on in middle schools, but I also think it's pretty naive to think it isn't going on at all.
posted by mostlymartha at 6:39 PM on October 18, 2007


Because middle school gossip is always true.

Well, as an adult working as a counselor at summer camp, I was involved in busting up at least three romances between 14-year-olds who were, in fact, having sex. Nice kids.

From private schools.
posted by Miko at 6:43 PM on October 18, 2007


It's the sex that goes on among the home-schooled that weirds me out.
posted by maxwelton at 7:10 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


mostlymartha writes "Oh, I don't doubt that it's a very, very small portion of kids having sex at that age, but I also don't doubt that they're having it."

OK; the 10-year-old thing is a major red herring, especially given that the pills are being prescribed only to post-pubescent girls (which makes sense, right?). This school also serves 15-year-olds, which is another can of worms entirely. Add on top the fact that the school health center seems to be the primary care provider for a large economically disadvantaged population attending the school, and this starts to make sense.

Poorly written headline, poorly written post, and a bunch of comments made without reading the article. Is it Slashdot day on Metafilter?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:13 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Kids are growing up so fast these days… and that's why the legal age of consent should be lowered to fifteen. Some sixteen year-old kid with zits all over his face who pops after twenty seconds gets to fuck them, but I 'm a grown man with skills. That 's selfish!"

- Louis CK

(shamefully recycled from a previous comment I made)


And nobody told you last time that you're mixing up Louis CK and David Cross?
posted by Bookhouse at 7:14 PM on October 18, 2007


A headline within the past couple weeks went by stating something to the effect that a meta-study had determined that access to abortion and birth control results in significantly lower rates of intercourse and pregnancy. Or something to that effect.

One only has to take a quick look at national stats to see that whatever is being done in the USA, it isn't working at all.

Yay Portland for being sensible!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:16 PM on October 18, 2007


If they're old enough to have sex w/out their parents knowing it...they're old enough to get birth control prescribed by a doctor after a physical examination.

Everyone freaks out about the kids, but honestly, many parents are simply not capable of helping their kids...and yes, a sexually active 11 year old already has problems that signal probable trouble at home. How likely is it that such a kid has a healthy home life that would allow her and her mom to have a heart to heart about sex and then go off to the doctor's?

Hormone-based birth control during puberty can't possibly be a good idea, either.

Well, actually for some girls it is a help; early puberty can often mean really painful and heavy menses, and the pill can help regulate that. If they're being seen by a decent dr., then they're going to be ok.

Once past puberty, a girl is physically an adult, and has to have at least some adult rights where her own body is concerned, for her own safety. And birth is a helluva a lot harder and risker for a 12 year old than birth control.
posted by emjaybee at 7:16 PM on October 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Slap Factory writes "Another reason why I will not send my children to public schools. You folks conduct your social experiments on the public school kids all you want. We will see how everything shakes out, since it's all such great social policy."

Actually, study after study have proven that a combination of education and availability of contraception is the best deterrent to teen pregnancy. This is true on an international level. Abstinence-only education, in contrast, has not proven to be effective. We already know how it turns out. We're still stuck in the 1950s.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:27 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Amen, emjaybee -- and for those of you who weren't aware, girls are getting their first periods younger and younger now than ever before, due to a number of different factors. Not that you need to know this, but I was 10 or 11 when I first got mine (I'm 32 now), and I wasn't the only one at that age.

My doctor put me on birth control very early on because 9-day heavy flow cycles are A Complete Drag when you are still in middle school... emjaybee has it right on birth control not just being appropriate for "Keeping the Babies from Having Babies OMG!"

I would much rather my child make the responsible choice of seeking appropriate alternative adult help if for some reason they felt they couldn't talk to me about it.

As for the rest of us, we'd like to do something that's likely to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and help girls get through their educations, with the added benefit of giving them at least a couple of caring adults who know the real story about what's going on in their lives.

Yay, miko!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:27 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


The World Famous wrote: I am curious as to whether the message that is sent through these kinds of programs actually does affect sexual activity rates. Based on my own memory of being that age, I suspect that now, as then, many children are influenced by what they perceive to be adults' expectations of their behavior.

So it all boils down to this, does it? We can't provide contraception to kids because it "sends a message". It's funny: I thought the message was "Please don't have babies while you're so young". But you seem to think the message is "Hey kids, go ahead and fuck like rabbits! God is dead! Vote Hillary!"

It might surprise you to learn that people who support educating and providing contraception to teens (and lets be honest: these are very horny, very sexually-aware teens that we're talking about here) are not actually eager to see them go out and have sex. Although I don't have any kids, I'm not exactly thrilled to consider the possibility that my baby bro (16) and sis (13) are doing the nasty with a classmate that they won't even like in 2 weeks.

Yet in the event that they do, I want to be absolutely sure that they'll know how to acquire and use contraception, to protect themselves. And no matter how "well" my parents have raised them, they, in the end, can and will make their own choices.

Hell, my parents raised me in the same strict fundamentalist Christian household that my little bro and sis were raised in, and I turned out to be a Bi sex-fiend with a spanking fetish. Do you think they planned that? Do you think they sent "all the right messages" to me? They sure thought they did. But biology (and my own willpower) had different ideas in mind.

Send all the messages you want. But they're in control of their bodies, and we (their parents, guardians, etc.) aren't. Not without burkas and chastity belts, anyway. They need to learn how to take care of their bodies, no matter the choices they make.
posted by Avenger at 8:36 PM on October 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: God is dead! Vote Hillary!
posted by emjaybee at 8:48 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like it as a proving ground, though it's at least 100 years too late. Too many people are arguing from ignorance about what might happen. Other schools should watch King Middle School to see what happens there to the average age kids lose their virginity, the STD and pregnancy rates, the occurrence of student-student and student-adult sex crimes, etc. If the results are positive, quickly roll this program nationwide. If the results are negative, fix it or stop it, don't just fret about it.
posted by pracowity at 11:36 PM on October 18, 2007


Hypothetical_Framing_Filter:

Raise your hand if you're in favor of the government forcibly vaccinating your child, against your wishes, for a disease he or she probably wouldn't get, when it's known that the vaccination treatment itself occasionally causes significant medical problems.

Funny. I don't notice a lot of hands going up ... you must not like government making decisions for you ... hmm ...

OK, now raise your hand if you're in favor of the government providing said vaccination to your child, without your knowledge, upon the child's request.

A-ha! Caught you!

Like I said ... freaky world.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:08 AM on October 19, 2007


Cool Papa Bell writes "Raise your hand if you're in favor of the government forcibly vaccinating your child, against your wishes, for a disease he or she probably wouldn't get, when it's known that the vaccination treatment itself occasionally causes significant medical problems."

I'm hands up for that, a lack of vaccination puts society at risk of a pandemic.

Cool Papa Bell writes "OK, now raise your hand if you're in favor of the government providing said vaccination to your child, without your knowledge, upon the child's request."

It shouldn't come to keeping it a secret. Public policy should be that everyone gets vaccinated at the set intervals.

Besides 15 year olds are going to have secrets. Somebody stop by and shoot me in the head if I'm ever the kind of control freak parent who insists on knowing every single thing my kid is doing at 15 years of age.
posted by Mitheral at 12:59 AM on October 19, 2007


Raise your hand if you're in favor of the government forcibly vaccinating your child, against your wishes, for a disease he or she probably wouldn't get, when it's known that the vaccination treatment itself occasionally causes significant medical problems.

Where did the smart metafilter go?
posted by srboisvert at 2:49 AM on October 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yay Maine! This is good.
posted by lampoil at 5:17 AM on October 19, 2007


Cripes. You don't want vaccination? Instead you want measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria, whooping cough, polio, tuberculosis, chicken pox, flu, papillomavirus, meningococcus, hepatitus A & B, tetanus, Pneumococcus and rotavirus? To prevent these scourges, everybody (except 1 person, and that should be the kid with compromised health) must be vaccinated.

There is some small risk, but these diseases are horrible killers that cause untold misery. We should be so incredibly grateful to live in a world without smallpox, which was eradicated by vaccination. If I'd been lucky enough to have been vaccinated instead of getting chicken pox, maybe I wouldn't have shingles.

Getting a flu shot protects you, and not getting the flu protects the elderly cashier at the corner store from catching the flu from you. Getting your child vaccinated means that the kid with horrible allergies who couldn't get vaccinated doesn't have be terribly ill, and possibly die of whooping cough. Get a grip, and accept your civic responsibility to get yourself and your kids vaccinated, and help keep everybody safe.
posted by theora55 at 6:09 AM on October 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


John of Michigan: That little piece of anecdotal evidence about private school is about as illuminating and relevant as your story about having an unused condom in your pocket when you are a teenager. The reality is a little more complicated than a Billy Joel song.

Seriously, do you want to bet on the actual statistics about which schools - public or private - have lower rates of student pregnancy? Or lower rates of whatever other social dysfunction you want to put on the table?
posted by Slap Factory at 7:31 AM on October 19, 2007


Klangklangston: About your "shriveled old heart," aren't you a childless, 20-something college democrat? That's not saying you aren't necessarily wise and sophisticated, but you would really need to prove it.
posted by Slap Factory at 7:34 AM on October 19, 2007


krinklyfig: That's terrific for you then. As I said, you go ahead and trust your social science experiments, and I'll just stick with the private school method where I can adhere to outmoded old mores. I wish you and the public school kids all the best, even though the current approach does not seem to be working. Maybe it just needs more time, more condoms, more birth control pills.
posted by Slap Factory at 7:36 AM on October 19, 2007


Slappy: I assume you meant "college-educated Democrat," and yes, I am. Which makes me more likely to believe statistics, which I don't think either of us have. Got some cites?

Aside from that, there's a reason why the stereotype of the sex-crazed Catholic school girl exists, and there's a reason that the Bible Belt produces more teen pregnancies than us Godless libr'uls.

Feel free to provide numbers, because your appeals to "wisdom" aren't exactly convincing.
posted by klangklangston at 7:44 AM on October 19, 2007


I don't notice a lot of hands going up

You don't? I sure do. I notice millions and millions of hands going up - the millions of kids who get all their vaccinations every year so they can enter school. Yes, a few parents opt out, but there's a fair amount of resentment toward them for deciding their children can serve as vessels to potentially harbor a dangerous disease.
posted by Miko at 7:45 AM on October 19, 2007


Klangklangston: No, I meant just what I said. If you recently graduated, then congratulations on that, but it does not change the point. In fact, it reinforces it. You (childless, recent college graduate/college student; earlier in the thread called posters "retarded" because they disagreed with you) vote for your social experiments in the public schools based on statistics which neither of us have. I (not childless, not recent graduate, did not call anyone retarded yet) will opt my children out of that mess and put them in a private school where I can take my chances with my older and possibly outmoded views about morality instead.

I'll take that chance even though you claim "there's a reason" that some stereotypes exist/persist. That's a silly basis for decision making about something as important as a child's education. Stereotypes exist for all sorts of crazy and often counterfactual reasons.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:29 AM on October 19, 2007


Slap Factory writes "vote for your social experiments in the public schools based on statistics which neither of us have. "

For the last time, the science is already in, and birth control and education work. The lack of them do not.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:30 AM on October 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Slap Factory writes "That's terrific for you then. As I said, you go ahead and trust your social science experiments, and I'll just stick with the private school method where I can adhere to outmoded old mores."

Sure, trust superstition if that makes you feel better. I'll trust what's been proven to work.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2007


Ah. The "parents know better than non-parents" debate.
posted by agregoli at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2007


A new study has shown that contraception, not abstinence, is behind declines in teen pregnancy.

Providing “abstinence only” or “abstinence until marriage” messages as a sole option for teenagers is flawed from scientific and medical ethics viewpoints. (.pdf)

Many of the curricula distort information about the risks of sexual activity. In the case of cervical cancer, the risk of disease is stressed, but simple prevention measures often go unmentioned. HIV exposure risks are discussed in confusing terms, and risks of substances and activities are exaggerated. (.pdf)

Raise your hands if you'd like your kids lied to by people who bend science to fit their own agendas. Anyone? Hello? Is this thing on?
posted by rtha at 8:57 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


And, to be fair, here is a quote from an abstinence-only curriculum, Sex Respect. I don't know how many school use it these days, but it was pretty popular in the 90s.

Premarital sex breaks up couples or pushes them into bad marriages. It fools people into marrying the wrong person. It leads to unhappiness, divorce, extramarital affairs, and dissatisfaction. It denies the couples bonding experience.

No distortion or misinformation there, no siree.
posted by rtha at 8:59 AM on October 19, 2007


No distortion or misinformation there, no siree.

Which of those statements do you think is false? What do you base your opinion on?
posted by The World Famous at 9:08 AM on October 19, 2007


Those statements are highly offensive to people who had premarital sex, married their partner, and are happy. I find it ridiculous to state for a FACT that it causes bad marriages, adultery, unhappiness, divorce, etc. Where's the proof? There's no way to prove that premarital sex was the issue in any of those scenarios.
posted by agregoli at 9:14 AM on October 19, 2007


It denies the couples bonding experience.

And especially the divine enjoyment of solo bonding with two wet suits and a condom-covered dildo.
posted by ericb at 9:17 AM on October 19, 2007



I find it ridiculous to state for a FACT that it causes bad marriages, adultery, unhappiness, divorce, etc.


And yet, it is a fact (though your statement is not the same as the quote above). It does not ALWAYS cause those things, evidently.

Where's the proof, you ask? Millions of people who have had those problems will tell you that premarital sex was the issue in their case. I know this because I have worked closely with many people in dealing with those issues, and it is extraordinarily common that they cite premarital sex as either the root or a root of the problem. Counterexamples do not contradict the assertion that it contributes to those things, since the assertion is not that it always does (though "cause" is not the right word, so let's stick to the actual quote above, rather than changing it).
posted by The World Famous at 9:22 AM on October 19, 2007


Have you interviewed people who stay in bad marriages even though they married the wrong person? What about people whose "couples bonding experience" is, essentially, being yoked for a lifetime to a partner who's abusive, distant, addicted, closeted gay, or a philanderer? Because there are at least two people in my family who embraced your morality and found that resisting premarital sex did not save them from any of the ills of relationships. Without addressing the fact that bad things happen in relationships that did not include premarital sex, there's no way to determine that premarital sex is the cause of bad things in relationships.

Some relationships should break up. It's miserable for a family, and its children, when a healthy solution is discouraged by a shortsighted moral convention.
posted by Miko at 9:35 AM on October 19, 2007


they cite premarital sex as either the root or a root of the problem.

Can you give an example? I'm genuinely curious. If I went to counseling for a relationship problem, how is it that premarital sex would figure in? What problems, exactly, would it create that I had sex with my husband before marrying him?
posted by Miko at 9:36 AM on October 19, 2007


...and it is extraordinarily common that they cite premarital sex as either the root or a root of the problem.

As has been pointed out in this thread, anecdotal evidence is not, you know, evidence. Perhaps people who have had bad marriages, gotten divorced, been depressed, etc. have also engaged in premarital sex, but as we all know, cause and correlation are two different things. Perhaps they didn't have good examples of healthy relationships when they were growing up; perhaps they're just ducking personal responsibility by blaming a divorce at age 40 on some premarital sex they had when they were 15.

The point of the links above is to point to actual scientific evidence that shows that teaching kids about proper contraceptive use and such does not increase sexual activity or pregnancy. Further, there is abundant actual scientific evidence that abstinence-only curricula are ineffective.

I would like to see the cites - from peer-reviewed studies, please - that support the claims made by the Sex Respect program. That particular claim above may sound like "common sense" to some people, but we all know that "common sense" is often...wrong.
posted by rtha at 9:37 AM on October 19, 2007


krinklyfig and rtha: What you are citing is hardly "science." It is social studies. The entire argument that a parent's traditional perspective on sexual education is (or even could be) "flawed from a scientific and medical ethics standpoint" really takes the sting out of your claim that I am the one who is relying on superstition by opting out of public schools that provide birth control to 10 year olds.

The first link that rtha cites, for instance, simply does not support the assertion he/she makes. It is a conclusion in support of a methodology, and there is no way I could take comfort resting my child's well-being upon "science" like this:

So how do we know whether abstinence education is as effective as education about contraceptive use in keeping teen pregnancy down, or reducing it further? It can’t be measured by looking at the data for the reasons behind the decline in teen pregnancy rates.

So instead, the article goes on to review statistics in states where there is supposedly a more abstinence-focused education than not, with specific reference to Texas, Minnesota, and California. Now, I am not sure what the public schools are like in those states, but I would wager that generalizations about sex ed in, for example, Houston, El Paso, Austin, and Arlen are unhelpful. At least the article does acknowledge that "these comparisons are made among regions with similar demographics: pointing out that Texas has had major funding for abstinence education and maintains one of the worst teen pregnancy rates is unfair, since there may be other reasons for a high pregnancy rate than the type of sex ed Texan teens are getting."

So here's the scientific money quote from the article: "But here’s some more pertinent evidence that abstinence education may not be working. While Texas championed abstinence education, and teen pregnancy rates were going down, the Texan teen pregnancy rate went down less than in other states."

I could go on and on. I am glad I clicked through the link. Based on the conviction with which you two argued, I was actually worried that I missed some scientific breakthrough.
posted by Slap Factory at 9:38 AM on October 19, 2007


Total bullshit, The World Famous. "Leads to" without a "can" in front of it is exactly the same as saying "cause" to me. And I find it totally without substantiation and rude besides. Idiotic, actually.
posted by agregoli at 9:41 AM on October 19, 2007


As has been pointed out in this thread, anecdotal evidence is not, you know, evidence. Perhaps people who have had bad marriages, gotten divorced, been depressed, etc. have also engaged in premarital sex, but as we all know, cause and correlation are two different things.

Yup.
posted by agregoli at 9:42 AM on October 19, 2007


Oh well though. I know that my premarital sex with my husband lead to a wonderful marriage, and that's all that matters. A big kudos to Maine for this program.
posted by agregoli at 9:46 AM on October 19, 2007


I would be willing to bet that post-marital sex has doomed more marriages than pre-marital sex.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:48 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Have you interviewed people who stay in bad marriages even though they married the wrong person?

Yes.

What about people whose "couples bonding experience" is, essentially, being yoked for a lifetime to a partner who's abusive, distant, addicted, closeted gay, or a philanderer?

Yep. Those too.

Because there are at least two people in my family who embraced your morality

"your morality?"

and found that resisting premarital sex did not save them from any of the ills of relationships.

Did someone claim that resisting premarital sex saves people from all ills in relationships? I certainly did not.

Some relationships should break up. It's miserable for a family, and its children, when a healthy solution is discouraged by a shortsighted moral convention.

I agree. When did this become a thread about whether or not divorce is morally or socially advisable?

As has been pointed out in this thread, anecdotal evidence is not, you know, evidence.

As is now pointed out: Yes, it is. Statistical evidence is, in some respects, better, but anecdotal evidence is evidence.

That particular claim above may sound like "common sense" to some people

To me, it sounds like repetition of what I have heard directly from people about their own personal experiences many, many times. Not common sense.

Total bullshit, The World Famous. "Leads to" without a "can" in front of it is exactly the same as saying "cause" to me. And I find it totally without substantiation and rude besides. Idiotic, actually.


And I am the one being rude?
posted by The World Famous at 9:51 AM on October 19, 2007


public schools that provide birth control to 10 year olds.

The thread has already shown that this is more of an inflammatory sound bite than an accurate characterization. The school does not provide the birth control; a state-funded health center within the school does. Though 10-year-olds are in the school, we don't know that the birth control has been or ever will be provided to a ten-year-old, since it isn't needed, unless someone has gone through puberty and is having sex. It is rare for 10-year-olds to have started menstruating (though more common now than in the past), and the policy is aimed only to provide pregnancy-preventing care to kids who need it. IT does not exist to lure 10-year-olds into a lascivious lifestyle of amoral sexual activity.

If a teenager has gone through puberty and is having sex, what is your proposed solution that will keep her from getting pregnant? What is the plan of the school you are choosing? How are they doing? What's the pregnancy rate among teens there? Do you think you really know it, or do you think parents and pregnant teens handle their problems privately outside of school? Because that's been going on for quite a long time, for people who have access to money and doctors and private counselors and private adoption agencies and out-of-town relatives.
posted by Miko at 9:52 AM on October 19, 2007


The World Famous, that was a non-response. Let me simplify the question.

What negative impact does premarital sex have on a marital relationship?
posted by Miko at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2007


What negative impact does premarital sex have on a marital relationship?

It does not have a uniform negative impact in every instance. It can have many various negative impacts, and often does.

If a teenager has gone through puberty and is having sex, what is your proposed solution that will keep her from getting pregnant?


There are many types of birth control. I would propose a combination.
posted by The World Famous at 9:56 AM on October 19, 2007


It does not have a uniform negative impact in every instance.

Well, I would agree with that.

It can have many various negative impacts, and often does.

Such as?

There are many types of birth control. I would propose a combination.


What's your objection to this one? What combination would you propose?
posted by Miko at 10:04 AM on October 19, 2007


"And yet, it is a fact (though your statement is not the same as the quote above). It does not ALWAYS cause those things, evidently."

No, it is a fact that it can be correlated with some of those things some of the time. Which is, like, no fucking evidence at all to base moral policy upon. Jesus, did you sleep through science class?

"You (childless, recent college graduate/college student; earlier in the thread called posters "retarded" because they disagreed with you) vote for your social experiments in the public schools based on statistics which neither of us have. I (not childless, not recent graduate, did not call anyone retarded yet) will opt my children out of that mess and put them in a private school where I can take my chances with my older and possibly outmoded views about morality instead."

Slap Factory, this is what we call an ad hominem fallacy. Stop being retarded. (ZING!). You can do what you like with your children, despite your reasoning being stupid. But I can point out to you, and your children, that it is stupid.

"What you are citing is hardly "science." It is social studies."

Gawd, you're, like, the single argument for the failure of Americans to comprehend how science works.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on October 19, 2007


Miko:

It can have many various negative impacts, and often does.

Such as?


Start reading AskMe relationship questions more often.

There are many types of birth control. I would propose a combination.

What's your objection to this one? What combination would you propose?


Objection? What do you mean? Am I supposed to be objecting to sexually active people using birth control?

I think the combination should include condoms and should also include other methods which are best determined based on an individualized inquiry that includes consulting with the particular woman's regular doctor.

If you're asking because you are a sexually active teen and you would like actual advice, I'm not offering advice. Sorry.

klangklangston:

No, it is a fact that it can be correlated with some of those things some of the time.

Why are you so certain that there is never a causal relationship?

Which is, like, no fucking evidence at all to base moral policy upon. Jesus, did you sleep through science class?

You evidently daydreamed through science class if you thought that science class had something to do with morality or policy. Or maybe your degree is from Bob Jones University. Is that it?
posted by The World Famous at 10:15 AM on October 19, 2007


So how do we know whether abstinence education is as effective as education about contraceptive use in keeping teen pregnancy down, or reducing it further? It can’t be measured by looking at the data for the reasons behind the decline in teen pregnancy rates.

Ok. I see your point, Slap Factory, about methodology. How about some comparative numbers? I may be reading you wrong, but you seem to be taking the path that offering comprehensive sexual education to kids is some sort of newfangled idea, and that there aren't clear results out there about its effects. It is a difficult thing to study.

But let's look at some stats on teen pregnancy rates in some European countries, where:

* Research is the basis for public policies to reduce unintended pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Political and religious interest groups have little influence on public health policy.
* A national desire to reduce the number of abortions and to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, provides the major impetus in each country for unimpeded access to contraception, including condoms, consistent sexuality education, and widespread public education campaigns.
* Governments support massive, consistent, long-term public education campaigns utilizing the Internet, television, films, radio, billboards, discos, pharmacies, and health care providers. Media is a partner, not a problem, in these campaigns. Campaigns are far more direct and humorous than in the U.S. and focus on safety and pleasure.
* Youth have convenient access to free or low-cost contraception through national health insurance.
(emphases mine)

A little more (all from the link):

* In the United States, the teen birth rate is nearly 11 times higher than that of the Netherlands, nearly five times higher than the rate in France, and nearly four times higher than that in Germany.

* In the United States, the teen abortion rate is nearly eight times higher than the rate in Germany, nearly seven times higher than that in the Netherlands, and nearly three times higher than the rate in France.

* In the United States, the estimated HIV prevalence rate in young men ages 15 to 24 is over five times higher than the rate in Germany, nearly three times higher than the rate in the Netherlands, and about 1 ½ times higher than that in France.
(emphases mine)
posted by rtha at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


You are great at non-answer answers, The World Famous. I read AskMes perfectly well, and I'm still not sure what you're seeing as the negatives of premarital sex. Most of those negatives I might personally term not as negatives, but as 'relationship experience' which will help the person experiencing them build a far more sophisticated understanding of how relationships work and how they can continually get better at them.

I'm just really curious as to what, specifically, you see as the negatives of premarital sex. I simply do not see it as negative. I see it as an interaction which is part of most people's lives.


other methods which are best determined based on an individualized inquiry that includes consulting with the particular woman's regular doctor.


And that is exactly what is going on in this school health clinic, which you would know if you had read the articles linked.

If you're asking because you are a sexually active teen

Ha. I'm 38. And I survived premarital sex!
posted by Miko at 10:22 AM on October 19, 2007


I would be willing to bet that post-marital sex has doomed more marriages than pre-marital sex.

To quote Bill Maher:
"All marriages are same-sex marriages - you go to bed every night, and it's the same sex!"
BTW -- gays don't have 'pre-marital sex' (except for some in Massachusetts). In a few states they have 'pre-civil-union sex.' Elsewhere it's "just sex!"
posted by ericb at 10:23 AM on October 19, 2007


Yeah ericb - I was going to mention that the presumption that everyone's going to get married is ludicrous.
posted by Miko at 10:26 AM on October 19, 2007


As is now pointed out: Yes, it is. Statistical evidence is, in some respects, better, but anecdotal evidence is evidence.

Oy.

Here's an anecdote: When I eat shrimp, I get itchy and wheezy. Possible reason: I am allergic to shrimp, and probably other shellfish. For confirmation, I go get allergy tests.

Here's another anecdote: I was in a long-term relationship that ended badly when I was 29 (not a marriage, because I'm a dyke and we're not allowed to get married in the U.S., where I live). Possible reason: I made some poor relationship/sexual choices when I was younger, and this is what caused the breakup of my LTR.

For confirmation...
posted by rtha at 10:28 AM on October 19, 2007


Most of those negatives I might personally term not as negatives, but as 'relationship experience' which will help the person experiencing them build a far more sophisticated understanding of how relationships work and how they can continually get better at them.

Turning negative experiences into learning opportunities is a very important life skill. I try to do that, too.

I simply do not see it as negative. I see it as an interaction which is part of most people's lives.

I, too, see it as an interaction which is a part of most people's lives.

I'm just really curious as to what, specifically, you see as the negatives of premarital sex.

For a start, maybe you could scroll up the thread and find the list of negatives that started this discussion. But that's just a start. I would love to discuss the topic with you in person, if we ever meet. But I don't feel like making this thread into The World Famous' exposition of accumulated observations on the negative consequences of extramarital sex.

And that is exactly what is going on in this school health clinic, which you would know if you had read the articles linked.

I came away from the articles with the impression that it would be a school clinic making the recommendations, and not the womens' regular doctors. If I was mistaken, I apologize.

Are they determining whether or not the girls actually are sexually active, first, too? Because I didn't see that in the article if they are. And since it was one of your assumptions, I assume you're trying to be consistent in your hypothetical with the actual scenario in the article.

Ha. I'm 38. And I survived premarital sex!

Good for you. And you even claim to have turned the negatives into learning experiences, which is great.
posted by The World Famous at 10:33 AM on October 19, 2007


Miko -- and, yeah, I guess all that premarital sex may be the cause of the high rate of divorce in the U.S.?

And guess what? "...divorce rates are highest in the 'Bible Belt,' and among conservative Christians and Jews."*
posted by ericb at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2007


Miko -- and, yeah, I guess all that premarital sex may be the cause of the high rate of divorce in the U.S.?

For those whose meters might need recalibration ... that comment should have a /facetious tag appended to it.
posted by ericb at 10:42 AM on October 19, 2007


The World Famous: How do you account for the fact that education and older age at marriage correlates to a lower divorce rate? Or do you think all those 30-somethings getting married are staying chaste all through their college educations and PhDs?
posted by footnote at 10:44 AM on October 19, 2007


"You evidently daydreamed through science class if you thought that science class had something to do with morality or policy. Or maybe your degree is from Bob Jones University. Is that it?"

I thought I told you to stop being retarded.

EPA, NIH, CDC, FEMA, USDA, FDA…

Because of your retardation, I was unable to understand whether you meant those agencies didn't have anything to do with science, or whether they didn't have anything to do with policy or morality.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on October 19, 2007


The World Famous: How do you account for the fact that education and older age at marriage correlates to a lower divorce rate?

I think smart, mature people have better marriages than dumb, immature people do.

Or do you think all those 30-somethings getting married are staying chaste all through their college educations and PhDs?

I think that, like everything else in the world, multiple factors come into play, and that people who pretend they don't know that for the sake of argument are disingenuous. I also don't think it's impossible to have a strong marriage if one or both parties to the marriage had sex previously.

And I know that some of those 30-somethings getting married are staying chaste all through their college educations and PhDs, though I do not think that chastity guarantees a good marriage.

klangklangston:

I thought I told you to stop being retarded.


Yes, you did. You really showed me.

Because of your retardation, I was unable to understand whether you meant those agencies didn't have anything to do with science, or whether they didn't have anything to do with policy or morality.

Because of your intelligence, wit, and maturity, I thought that when you said "science class" you were talking about science class. I didn't realize that by "science class" you meant "government agencies." Sorry about that. I'll try harder not to be retarded.
posted by The World Famous at 10:54 AM on October 19, 2007


i think this is good. even 17 years ago when i was 10 kids were doing some seriously heavy petting and i know at least a couple of my friends lost it by the time they were 12. it's only gotten worse since then i'm sure.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:57 AM on October 19, 2007


Are they determining whether or not the girls actually are sexually active, first, too? Because I didn't see that in the article if they are.

Rowe said that patients fill out an 18-point health history form and risk questionnaire. If a student indicates that they are having sexual relations, the "discussion begins and includes a strong counseling component" said Rowe.
posted by rtha at 11:07 AM on October 19, 2007


"Because of your intelligence, wit, and maturity, I thought that when you said "science class" you were talking about science class. I didn't realize that by "science class" you meant "government agencies." Sorry about that. I'll try harder not to be retarded."

I'll make the point a little more explicitly, to overcome your obvious learning disability: In my science classes, we learned the science that directly affects policy through these governmental organizations. Further, we did a fair amount of work considering the context in which experimentation functions.

From your response, we are left with three options: You didn't pay attention in your science class (which dealt with similar issues); you were unable to pay attention in your science class (which dealt with similar issues); or your science class was deprecated in order to be something that the speds could understand. Please, which was it?

But this is a bit of a tangent, since even the most retarded science class should have dealt, at least briefly, with the scientific method and how evidence is amassed and assessed. Which was my point. You're making policy and moral decisions based on faulty evidence, and seem unable to connect that with anything empirical or logical.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on October 19, 2007


And I am the one being rude?

I didn't say you were rude. I said the statements were rude. Or did you write the web site you referenced?
posted by agregoli at 11:27 AM on October 19, 2007


klangklangston, you say:

You're making policy and moral decisions based on faulty evidence, and seem unable to connect that with anything empirical or logical.

What policy and moral decisions do you think I'm making? Please tell me exactly what moral decisions you think I am making, and please tell me exactly what policy decisions you think I am making.

Please also tell me what "faulty evidence" you think I rely on, and please also tell me what empirical or logical nuggets you think I'm missing.

Thanks.

Oh, and can you stop the "sped," "retard," "obvious learning disability" stuff?
posted by The World Famous at 11:32 AM on October 19, 2007


Please also tell me what "faulty evidence" you think I rely on, and please also tell me what empirical or logical nuggets you think I'm missing.

Well, you said: Where's the proof, you ask? Millions of people who have had those problems will tell you that premarital sex was the issue in their case. I know this because I have worked closely with many people in dealing with those issues, and it is extraordinarily common that they cite premarital sex as either the root or a root of the problem. (emph. mine)

I don't see any evidence in that statement. People can blame their life's failures on anything or everything; their self-diagnosis does not make it true or valid, especially when it comes to topics like sex and relationships.

For instance, I know someone who blames much of her inappropriate relationship stuff on the fact that she didn't grow up with a father figure. Neither did I. I have different relationship stuff from her, but I don't think that it's because my parents divorced when I was young.

Which set of self-reported diagnoses do you go with here?
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


"What policy and moral decisions do you think I'm making?"

You're endorsing the "premarital sex CAUSES death etc." mentioned upthread, instead of saying that it can be correlated, and further noting the weak corpus of evidence there (based on your anecdotal feelings). I know it was, like, way up there, and you're (rightly) beset on all sides, but that was the kernel of stupid that all this retard corn has been harvested from.

"Oh, and can you stop the "sped," "retard," "obvious learning disability" stuff?"

When you stop being retarded.

I mean, I realize that it's rude. And that, on some level, I should strive to not be rude. On the other hand, you keep advocating for such facially stupid positions that I'm having a hard time not, you know, brusquely calling you a retard. I realize that this is my fault and not yours, but jeez, man, could you just make an effort to stop being so retarded?
posted by klangklangston at 11:49 AM on October 19, 2007


Klangklangston:

I don't see any evidence in that statement.

Then you apparently don't know what the word "evidence" means.

Which set of self-reported diagnoses do you go with here?

I wouldn't go with any of them. I would take them all in as evidence and continue the analysis.

You're endorsing the "premarital sex CAUSES death etc." mentioned upthread

No, I am not.

and further noting the weak corpus of evidence there (based on your anecdotal feelings).

I said nothing about feelings.

On the other hand, you keep advocating for such facially stupid positions that I'm having a hard time not, you know, brusquely calling you a retard.

Please read more carefully. Please. You still have not named one single position that I have actually advocated for.

Could you please post something legible in the form of, for example:

"You have stupidly advocated for the position that . . . "

Please.
posted by The World Famous at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2007


Ok, The World Famous, please restate for the jury why you believe that pre-marital sex is per se harmful. Empirical support, in the form of links, would be appreciated.
posted by footnote at 1:30 PM on October 19, 2007


The World Famous, please restate for the jury why you believe that pre-marital sex is per se harmful.

Have I taken that position?
posted by The World Famous at 1:33 PM on October 19, 2007


Have I taken that position?

Well, then...to be clear... The World Famous, what is your position on pre-marital sex?
Is it wrong? Why/why not?

Is it okay/"no big deal?" Why/why not?

Is it harmful? Why/why not?

Is it "harmless?" Why/why not?

...etc.
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on October 19, 2007


I don't like internet surveys. Do you?
posted by The World Famous at 1:57 PM on October 19, 2007


A) Yes.
B) No.
C) I can't decide because I'm afraid somebody might call me a retard.
D) *drools*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:05 PM on October 19, 2007


TWF, in my comment above, I quoted your further-above statement in which you offer the "proof" as "millions of people" who attribute their problems to premarital sex. I then offered an example (an anecdote, even!) of two similar people who self-report their problems as having quite different causes.

The question is, really, how is self-reporting on issues like this (sex, relationships) "proof"?

While I have no doubt that many people regret becoming sexually active before marriage, or at least becoming active younger than they now think they should have, I have to question why we take them at their word that it was the sexual activity itself that was the problem. I would argue that for many, early sexual activity is a symptom of something, not necessarily a cause of future difficulties.
posted by rtha at 2:09 PM on October 19, 2007


You keep putting "proof" in quotes. Who are you quoting?

I then offered an example (an anecdote, even!) of two similar people who self-report their problems as having quite different causes.


Yes. Indeed, I acknowledge that there are many things in this world that cause problems for people.

I would argue that for many, early sexual activity is a symptom of something, not necessarily a cause of future difficulties.

And I would agree. I would add to that that it often also causes future difficulties. I suspect that you agree with that, too.

I also believe that there are always negative consequences to early sexual activity, though I admit I cannot cite to a study that proves scientifically that every person who has ever been sexually active at a very young age has had scientifically verifiable negative consequences.
posted by The World Famous at 2:24 PM on October 19, 2007


I don't like internet surveys. Do you?

I don't mind them. Can you please summarize for us what is your position regarding pre-marital sex?
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on October 19, 2007


Can you please summarize for us what is your position regarding pre-marital sex?

Why?
posted by The World Famous at 2:36 PM on October 19, 2007


What are these negative consequences that you believe occur? I think that's all anyone is curious about here.
posted by agregoli at 2:39 PM on October 19, 2007


Why? Cause we're trying to have a conversation with you and you don't wanna. So I guess...it's not one. Oh well.
posted by agregoli at 2:40 PM on October 19, 2007


Why?

To be honest, as the conversation has progressed, I am not clear as to what your points are above. It's likely me being thick and confused (if so, I apologize for such), but a restatement and summary by you -- in your own words -- would help me to better understand your position regarding pre-marital sex.
posted by ericb at 2:41 PM on October 19, 2007


I am not "snarking" here. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
posted by ericb at 2:41 PM on October 19, 2007


Metafilter: We're trying to have a conversation with you and you don't wanna.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:43 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: What is there to discuss?
posted by ericb at 2:44 PM on October 19, 2007


You keep putting "proof" in quotes. Who are you quoting?

You.

I also believe that there are always negative consequences to early sexual activity...

Wow.
posted by rtha at 2:47 PM on October 19, 2007


I also believe that there are always negative consequences to early sexual activity...

The World Famous -- what age(s) constitute(s) "early?" At what age is sexual activity okay and healthy?
posted by ericb at 2:55 PM on October 19, 2007


it would be a school clinic making the recommendations, and not the womens' regular doctors.

a) What women are you talking about? Everyone going to the clinic is under 18. They're girls.

b) What regular doctors are you talking about? The kids who use this clinic don't have regular doctors. The nurses and doctors at the clinic are their primary care. That's the reason the problem exists, and also the reason this is is even a public matter.

When 14-year-olds need the pill and have responsible parents and a private doctor, you don't hear about it and you don't get to weigh in. But they can and do get the birth control they need. Every day. Why can't poor kids have the same access?

The World Famous is reminding me of nothing so much as a middle school student -- with the disingenuous questioning. Oy. If you don't like premarital sex, don't have any, but don't stand in the way of the majority of people who do doing it safely.

Enough with this seriousness. It's Friday night; I'm gonna go have me some premarital sex!
posted by Miko at 3:10 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's Friday night; I'm gonna go have me some premarital sex!

Does your mother know?
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on October 19, 2007


Good god, why are you people bothering to try to draw an obviously reticent The World Famous into having a proper conversation? His/her past twenty or so messages have almost completely avoided providing any sort of answer to your questions. It is patently obvious that s/he is not going to provide any sort of proof or argument for his/her initial comments.

The only superlative argument (of sorts) in this thread has come from rtha, who provided some hard facts:
* In the United States, the teen birth rate is nearly 11 times higher than that of the Netherlands, nearly five times higher than the rate in France, and nearly four times higher than that in Germany.

* In the United States, the teen abortion rate is nearly eight times higher than the rate in Germany, nearly seven times higher than that in the Netherlands, and nearly three times higher than the rate in France.

* In the United States, the estimated HIV prevalence rate in young men ages 15 to 24 is over five times higher than the rate in Germany, nearly three times higher than the rate in the Netherlands, and about 1 ½ times higher than that in France.
It would take great effort to continue to believe that Maine's solution to these problems is less desirable than the alternatives offered by the various folk who have protested strongly against it.

Sometimes you gotta call it like it is: some people are unabashedly retarded in their views on sex and sexuality. We've met a few of them in this very thread and ol' Bush has, unfortunately, taken to posting similar retards to positions of power.

Like the new sexual health czar who's against contraception. FFS, give us all a break, George.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:39 PM on October 19, 2007


It's unfortunate that, for the most part, kids are being raised by the state. You have mass media pushing and selling sex sending all kinds of goofy messages. Mom and Dad are out working more than likely. Even if they're exemplary, the situation is what it is, not what we'd like and you're not going to know every nuance of every day.
Of course, we could change that situation. Somehow one person (yeah, ok, a man back then) working could support a family not too long ago. Too bad pro-family isn't. Used to have some meaning to it. Got co-opted pretty quickly.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:30 PM on October 19, 2007


One factor that has been missed in this discussion, and is quite pertinent, is that in many states in the US it is perfectly okay to have sex with a person younger than the age of consent if you are married to them (for eg, Georgia: A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse). In some states, such as Georgia, a statement attesting pregnancy from your doctor waives the need for parental consent for a marriage license for those underage. So pre-marital sex at 14 is bad, but marital sex at 14 is a-okay. What hogwash.

Go Maine. It's good to see some sense in public policy about teens and birth control rather than the usual nonsense.
posted by goo at 5:55 AM on October 20, 2007


very very very related (about SCHIP): To entice Republicans to support the bill, the House of Representatives agreed to increase money for abstinence-only sex education by $28 million, to a total of about $200 million a year.
posted by amberglow at 10:52 AM on October 20, 2007


That's $200 million a year that could go to something that's actually effective and good for society, like healthcare coverage. How is it so many retards get elected to the House?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:20 PM on October 20, 2007


or infrastructure improvements, or New Orleans repairs, or small business programs, or libraries, or driver safety advertising, or drug harm reduction programs, or green-energy sciences, or pretty much two hundred million other things that would provide a greater return on investment.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:24 PM on October 20, 2007


Now the teachers won't have to worry about getting their students pregnant.

AP: Sexual misconduct plagues U.S. schools.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on October 20, 2007


Slap Factory writes "What you are citing is hardly 'science.' It is social studies."

Excuse me?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:53 AM on October 21, 2007


they're trying to limit it now: Plan would limit King Middle School birth control access
posted by amberglow at 3:30 PM on October 23, 2007


Last week President Bush named yet another person to oversee the federally funded family planning program who doesn't seem especially keen on federally funded family planning. He might have done better to pick his daughter Jenna.
posted by rtha at 9:55 AM on October 24, 2007


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