Abstinence—It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore

One has to give the Bush administration credit. What they lack in common sense and insight, they more than make up for in sheer foolishness and chutzpah. Consider the following article from USA Today:

Abstinence message goes beyond teens

The federal government’s “no sex without marriage” message isn’t just for kids anymore.

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it’s a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.

“They’ve stepped over the line of common sense,” said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. “To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It’s an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health.”

Abstinence education programs, which have focused on preteens and teens, teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease. They give no instruction on birth control or safe sex.

The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse. [full text]

Those naughty 20-somethings! Doing with one another what the Bush administration has been doing to Americans of all ages for nearly 6 years. (At least, with the 20-somethings, it’s presumably consensual.) One has to admire the stamina and persistence of Team Bush. Though America may chafe, they push on—and blissfully ignore the scientific research that seriously questions the effectiveness of abstinence-only education (as discussed in an earlier post). Where is the sense in simply urging young adults to avoid sexual activity rather than take proper precautions? Frankly, it seems akin to advising young American soldiers in Iraq to just be careful rather than take care to wear body armor. It’s ridiculous.