What you don't know won't hurt you: Abstinence Only Education

George didn’t believe in driver’s education, he didn’t want to have anything to do with it.

Never mind how he learned to drive, his biggest fear was that his children would get hurt if they learned too much about it in advance, but he knew his children would one day drive a car when they reached the legal age.

Until then, he decided, his children would be allowed nowhere near his car or even see the keys, and especially not one of those rules-of-the-road books, that would be just irresponsible in the eyes of George’s community.

Mike had a safe full of guns and ammunition. He liked to target practice and hunt, but he absolutely didn’t want his children to know anything about any guns until they were old enough, but how old is old enough?

Sarah has a motorcycle but she absolutely didn’t want any of her kids to even think about riding a motorcycle, ever.

Okay, what is wrong with these people? They all use the notion of “Abstinence-Only,” which means simply “Stay away and ignore it, and maybe it will just go away.” Or “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Does it make sense? Will their children be safe from exposure to driving a car, shooting a gun, or riding a motorcycle?

The United States Federal Government seems to think so, and so do most of the United States governments.

I received an email from Planned Parenthood of Illinois this morning asking me to send an e-mail to Governor Quinn stating the following: [edited for clarity]

“Reject federal funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage programs!

In your FY 2010 budget proposal you included a continuation federal Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage (AOUM) funding. I urge you to reject this federal funding. These programs do a disservice to Illinois youth.

A federally-funded, nonpartisan study of the effectiveness of AOUM programs has found these programs to have no impact on the sexual abstinence of youth. The students' AOUM education had no effect on the age of first intercourse, number of sexual partners, or condom usage. Continuing to fund ineffective AOUM programs is throwing good money after bad.

Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are important problems. Comprehensive sexual health education programs (which include information about abstinence, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted infections in addition to other key elements) are proven to delay sexual activity and prevent disease among young people. While stressing abstinence, comprehensive sex ed provides students with the information they need to stay safe and healthy.

Again, please reject the federal Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage funding so Illinois can move forward with positive programs that protect our youth.”

The Illinois Governor has an opportunity to accept or reject funding that will go to such programs in the states, but I challenge President Barack Obama and Congress to suspend that program’s funding altogether on the grounds that it is a violation of the separation of church and state.

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Comment by Becky Garcia on May 25, 2009 at 1:43am
I have a webcomic like this saved someplace...

Here it is: http://www.bigfatwhale.com/archives/bfw_245.html

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