Saturday, October 6, 2007

Time to Abstain from Abstinence

While those in the public health field have been familiar with this finding for some time it is worth reiterating the point in light of even more evidence that identifies the inadequacies of abstinence education. This report is particularly damning in light of the position of abstinence education as the only form of sex education that is able to receive federal funding. This sort of extreme ideological policy without any concern of its effectiveness typifies the policies of the Bush administration and its backers in Congress (in such wide ranging fields from health care to the Iraq war). Teaching that sex is bad in school stands no chance of competing with the rampant hyper-sexualized messages that teens see throughout popular culture. The report identifies that teaching students about the use of condoms and their importance in preventing the spread of diseases and reducing the risk of pregnancy are much more effective. While academic literature has never been the way in which Bush and his supporters have constructed their policies, it can be hoped that those who replace them take this sort of work into account when attempting to clean up the mess left by those currently in power.

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