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Posts tagged ‘Sex education’

The real problem

I have no problem with homeschooling. It may well be the best choice for certain people, and since I cannot possibly know everyone’s circumstances or situation, I cannot decide that for them. The majority of them, I’m sure, have nothing but the interests of their children’s education at heart and lack any sort of ulterior or ideologically–driven indoctrinination/brainwashing motive. Indeed, some people homeschool specifically to get away from fundamentalism plaguing public schools in some areas, such as creationism and abstinence ignorance–only sex education.

What I do have a problem with is people who homeschool under the guise of “freedom of religion” to abuse their children and deny girls their rights (via Denialism) (my emphasis):

[Erika Diegel Martin] recounts notable educational gaps in her own family, where there was little academic encouragement. One of her brothers decided to quit school at 16 and faced no parental opposition. The youngest, Diegel Martin says, ceased his formal education at the age of 12, when she left home and was no longer available to teach him herself. And though she was fortunate enough to receive sex education before leaving public school, her siblings were not so lucky. Their parents never taught the three other children about sex, and Diegel Martin remembers giving her 21-year-old sister “the talk” the week before she got married. She also had to intervene to ensure that her younger brothers learned about sex.

As for herself, when she completed her schooling, she says her parents did not allow her to obtain her GED as proof of high school graduation. Their reason? “The girls weren’t allowed to get a GED because we were told we wouldn’t need it. It would open up opportunities that were forbidden to us. We would work in the family business until we got married, and then become homemakers.

“When I talked about wanting to go to college, my parents said, ‘Well, you’re a girl. You don’t go to college.'”

In other words, they’re breeding dependent doormats.

Quiverfull is one of the worst offenders when it comes to using “freedom of religion” and the parental rights (to abuse, to deny healthcare, and to deny education) movement to oppress women. Here what one of the biggest proponents of this movement, Doug Phillips, said (via Libby Anne) (again, my emphasis):

“Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope 
of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out 
independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has 
the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.'”

Very rarely do these people make it more clear that it’s about ownership of women.

Freedom of religion shouldn’t be “freedom” to oppress women. If there is a conflict between women’s rights and religion, women’s rights ought to win 100 times out of 100.

This is a post about premarital sex

Last week there was a sudden spree of posts about premarital sex. They have inspired me to write my own post concerning the same topic.

First of all, premarital sex is extremely common and it has been for an extremely long time. “Extremely long time” does not mean since the mythical 1950s, but rather since before then. Indeed, premarital sex has been the normative behaviour for much of the past eighty years. In the 1930s, 70% of men and women had premarital sex (cite). Similarly, today 95% of Americans have had premarital sex (cite). And the 1950s are of a mythical view. In her book The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz refutes the idea that the 1950s were some sort of pure “family values” period. Back then a majority of people still had premarital sex. Indeed, she sums it up succinctly: “The 1960s generation did not invent premarital and out–of–wedlock sex.”

Clearly then, the religious right’s wrong’s promotion of abstinence ignorance–only sex (mis)education is not only an attack on women and an attack on public health, but is also an attack on reality.

A few of the posts in the recent spree mentioned supposed “negative consequences” of premarital sex. As I will show, those supposed “negative consequences” ought to be considered irrelevant and furthermore, the things tied to opposition to premarital sex have sinister and bad effects.

More discussion is after the jump.

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Abstaining from the truth

From the Huffington Post (emphasis in original, links removed):

Texas lawmakers cut sex ed from two six-month courses to a single unit of “abstinence only” education. But early indications showed that the program wasn’t working. In fact, teens in almost all high school grades were having more sex after undergoing the abstinence only program. By 2007, Texas had the highest teen birth rate in the nation.

[…]

The results [of Texas’ sex miseducation]? Teen pregnancy in Texas went up — higher than before “abstinence only,” and more than 50 percent higher than the national average. Even more troubling was that repeat teen pregnancy went up — to the point that it, too, led the nation. It turns out that Texas kids thought that “if birth control doesn’t work, why use it?”

[…]

But none of this seems to matter to Gov. Rick Perry. When confronted with the dismal statistics during an October 15, 2010 televised interview with Texas Tribune reporter Evan Smith, Perry’s response was to reaffirm that “abstinence works.”

The audience laughed and Smith pointed out the state’s abysmal teen pregnancy rate. “It works,” insisted Perry. “Maybe it’s the way it’s being taught, or the way it’s being applied out there, but the fact of the matter is it is the best form of — uh — to teach our children.” Smith asked for a statistic to suggest it works, and Perry replied that “I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life, abstinence works.”

Hat tip to DAMMIT JANET!

Not like you needed even more evidence

From Scotland:

REPEATED sexual health campaigns have been credited with a huge drop in the number of abortions across the Lothians last year.

Terminations hit their lowest for almost 20 years in the area, with rates falling in all age groups, especially among teenagers.

Health chiefs said endless messages about contraception were finally sinking in, but stressed improvements still had to be made.

[snip]

One of the main reasons for the fall, experts said, was the growing use of long-term protection like the coil and contraceptive implant.

Dr Alison McCallum, director of public health and health policy for NHS Lothian, said: “Our priority has been to look at the provision of long acting reversible contraception (LARC) and encourage uptake of this by particular groups, including those who have had an abortion.

“One of the main aims of our new sexual health & HIV strategy is to further reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies through increasing the use of contraception in high risk groups, particularly LARC.

“We also aim to support people to make informed choices about sex and the use of contraceptives and ensure they are confident about the decisions they make.”

[snip]

Deprivation remains a huge influence on how likely someone is to have a termination in Edinburgh. Someone from the poorest part of the Capital is twice as likely to request the procedure as their counterpart from the wealthiest.

Put briefly, comprehensive sex education and access to contraception reduce the abortion rate.

In other news, water is wet.

The study does not say what you claim it says

Wingnut, socon, and sexophobe types are using a new study to claim that access to contraception does not reduce the abortion rate. In reality, the study does not support those people’s conclusions.

The study in question was published in the journal Contraception, and you can read the abstract here. (You can also read the abstract at the official journal website, but that requires cookies.) If you read the abstract, you’ll find the following passage (emphasis added):

CONCLUSIONS: The factors responsible for the increased rate of elective abortion need further investigation.

In other words, the study says that the reasons for the increase in the abortion rate are unknown. It expressly disclaims offering any explanation for it. This, along with the fact that correlation does not imply causation, shows that it is incorrect to use this study to claim that access to contraception increases or does not reduce the abortion rate.

Despite this study, other studies have shown that access to contraception reduces the abortion rate (cite, cite, cite). How could discrepancies between these studies be reconciled? I predict that the first study differs because of confounding factors or lurking variables.

Ignorance–only to be abstained from

Two Democrats, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Representative Barbara Lee of California have introduced a bill that would permanently cut off funding streams for the disaster known as ignorance I mean abstinence–only sex education (hat tip). As the United States midterm elections are imminent, I’m doubtful this law will actually get passed. But nevertheless, it is the right move. Abstinence–only has done nothing but cause unsafe sex, increase the teen pregnancy rate, and deprive young people of the knowledge they have every right to know.

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