Thursday, April 27, 2006

Government Information Is No Longer Dependable

There are a couple of government agencies that have always been considered a sort of gold standard for medical information. The Centers for Disease Control, for instance, posts a lot of information and advice, and it ... was ... considered an authoritative source.

I followed the links to this article in Glamour, of all places.
For the past 15 years, Ruth Shaber, M.D., has been an ob-gyn in San Francisco for Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation's largest health maintenance organizations. She sees all types of women—union members, executives, waitresses. Most of them, Dr. Shaber says, have questions for her, including how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, how to preserve their fertility, how to prevent breast and cervical cancer and whether the latest Internet health scare they've heard is really true.

Dr. Shaber tries hard to separate fact from fiction because, she says, "rumor and hearsay can start to seem real." In the past, she'd sometimes refer patients to government websites and printed fact sheets, or rely on those outlets to help create her own materials. Not anymore. "As a physician, I can no longer trust government sources," says Dr. Shaber. She is not a political activist or a conspiracy theorist; in addition to her own practice, she's Kaiser Permanente's director of women's health services for northern California and head of the HMO's Women's Health Research Institute. Yet this decidedly mainstream doctor and administrator says, "I no longer trust FDA decisions or materials generated [by the government]. Ten years ago, I would not have had to scrutinize government information. Now I don't feel comfortable giving it to my patients."

Such doctor mistrust represents a major change. For the past 100 years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been the world's premier government agency ensuring drug safety. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have similarly stellar track records. But recently, Dr. Shaber charges, the government has lost its most precious asset: credibility.

How did it happen? Many prominent figures in science and public health think they know the answer. "People believe that religiously based social conservatives have direct lines to the powers that be within the U.S. government, the administration, Congress, and are influencing public-health policy, practice and research in ways that are unprecedented and very dangerous," says Judith Auerbach, Ph.D., a former NIH official who is now a vice president at the nonprofit American Foundation for AIDS Research. In fact, Glamour, has found that on issues ranging from STDs to birth control, some radical conservative activists have used fudged and sometimes flatly false data to persuade the government to promote their agenda of abstinence until marriage. The fallout: Young women now read false data on government websites, learn bogus information in federally funded sex-education programs and struggle to get safe, legal contraceptives—all of which, critics argue, may put them at greater risk for unplanned pregnancies and STDs.

"Abstinence is a laudable goal," says Deborah Arrindell, vice president of health policy for the nonpartisan American Social Health Association, an STD-awareness group. "But it is not how young women live their lives—the reality is that most women have premarital sex. Our government is focusing not on women's health but on a moral agenda." Consider this a wake-up call. The new lies about women's health

This is a surprisingly thorough and well-done article, and it's quite long. I would suggest that women readers of this blog, especially, should check it out, as it turns out a lot of the misinformation has to do with women's health.

There are several things going on here. One is the religious right's desire to promote their narrow view of sexuality. There is a sexist aspect to it, which I'm not going to get into, but you don't have to dig very deep to find the message that women should be staying home and taking care of the babies. There is good old-fashioned Republican corruption, with the drug companies re-writing scientific results to make their products sell better, and well-financed politicians helping them do it in government publications and web sites. All of these things come together in our one-party federal government to produce a literature of lies.

Everybody knows this is happening, but it almost seems like nobody cares. We just sit in front of our TVs and let this happen to our country while we wonder about that blonde girl who disappeared in Aruba.

68 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you think there's a vast right-wing conspiracy, involving the CDC, FDA and NIH to convince people to not have sex until they're married?

April 27, 2006 11:32 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, what are we going to do with you?

This is about misrepresenting facts -- I would think that you could argue for abstinence till marriage without distorting the truth, couldn't you?

If you couldn't ... that in itself would be meaningful.

JimK

April 27, 2006 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is about misrepresenting facts -- I would think that you could argue for abstinence till marriage without distorting the truth, couldn't you?"

Sure, people do it all the time. I just didn't know all these agencies are conspiring to make us think extra-marital sex is a bad idea. Do you think they have conspiracy planning meetings? Why do you think they're doing it? Are they trying to save all the available gals for themselves? This shadowy movement to encourage sexual morality is really scary. Now that you've alerted me, I'm going to watch out for these conspirators everywhere.

April 27, 2006 12:51 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, you're not as funny as you think. There is no question that the administration, serving the religious right, promotes abstinence-only education and the fake-morality that goes with that. Federal funding, for instance, is specifically tied to promises by school districts that they will avoid teaching any facts about safe sex.

People are free to choose abstinence if they wish, and a good curriculum, such as the one that was recently thrown out in Montgomery County, will present accurate information that encourages young people to make that choice.

That isn't what this is about, nobody is opposed to teens remaining abstinent. This is about lying. Are you able to make that distinction? And it's not a conspiracy, there's no "shadowy movement," it's simply the way the current administration does its business. Right out in the open.

JimK

April 27, 2006 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, you're not as funny as you think."

Not to someone whose hyperbole is the target of the humor.

"There is no question that the administration, serving the religious right, promotes abstinence-only education and the fake-morality that goes with that. Federal funding, for instance, is specifically tied to promises by school districts that they will avoid teaching any facts about safe sex."

Abstinence is safe. The money was provided to correct failed sex ed of the past- wasn't there before Traditional sexual morality is not fake-morality. The majority of Americans agree that high schoolers should be taught to be abstinent until marriage. Abstinence-only education based on societal norms is effective and comprehensive sex ed has had the effect of increasing extramarital sexual activity in our society- and the attendant societal problems. Long-term, lives will be saved by abstinence based education. The liars are those who deny this.

"People are free to choose abstinence if they wish, and a good curriculum, such as the one that was recently thrown out in Montgomery County, will present accurate information that encourages young people to make that choice."

Their approach was dubious.

"That isn't what this is about, nobody is opposed to teens remaining abstinent. This is about lying."

You don't care about lying in general. Only if it interferes with your notion of impulse as virtue.

Your post simply made an accusation. It didn't offer any proof. From past experience, what you call lying is usually choosing to credit a different study than you. Studies contradict. Judgments have to be made.

"Are you able to make that distinction? And it's not a conspiracy, there's no "shadowy movement," it's simply the way the current administration does its business. Right out in the open."

Yes, the new liberal mantra. Ommmm..

April 27, 2006 3:05 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, it creeps me out when people make stuff up and assert it as fact. Like when you just said "The majority of Americans agree that high schoolers should be taught to be abstinent until marriage. Abstinence-only education based on societal norms is effective and comprehensive sex ed has had the effect of increasing extramarital sexual activity in our society- and the attendant societal problems..."

The majority of Americans, like us at TeachTheFacts.org, want teens to practice abstinence. But most Americans, by a long shot, want the schools to teach the facts, all the facts -- a two to one majority wants schools to go beyond the abstinence-only curricula supported by this administration.

In 2004, Kaiser, NPR, and the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government asked parents a lot of questions about teen sex and about what kind of education they wanted.

72 percent of parents say it is very important, and 21 percent say somewhat important, "to have sex education as part of the school curriculum." I'll make it easy for you: that's 93 percent saynig it's important.

30 percent agreed with Statement 1: The federal government should fund sex education programs that have “abstaining from sexual activity” as their only purpose

67 percent agreed with Statement 2: The money should be used to fund more comprehensive sex education programs that include information on how to obtain and use condoms and other contraceptives

Anon, that's more than two to one. You can look for bias and loopholes for your subjective reasoning HERE

Last year we reported on a survey in Alabama that showed that even that conservative state, the Ultimate Red State, is strongly in favor of comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed. Look HERE for an Auburn University press release -- I can't find the original survey any more. A quote: "Regarding the content covered by sex education, a large majority (95-98 percent) of Alabamians support the inclusion of a wide range of topics such as STD’s, rape prevention, rape reporting and abstinence. The topic of contraception received support from 86 percent. The topic of homosexuality, which is the focus of much of the sex education controversy in Alabama and other states, received less but still significant support (72 percent) if it were taught from a neutral perspective which neither supports nor condemns any viewpoint."

Dude: that is Alabama. I am not aware of a similar survey in Montgomery County, Maryland, but it is fair to assume that the Ultimate Blue County will feel even more positively about comprehensive and inclusive education.

As for your other point, there is no study anywhere showing that abstinence-only education results in lower rates of pregnancy or STDs among teens. It isn't "effective," as you assert. It isn't about picking a study, they all find that.

So, Anon ... you're flat out wrong.

I will ignore the rest of your neener-neener-level arguments.

JimK

April 27, 2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, it creeps me out when people make stuff up and assert it as fact. Like when you just said "The majority of Americans agree that high schoolers should be taught to be abstinent until marriage. Abstinence-only education based on societal norms is effective and comprehensive sex ed has had the effect of increasing extramarital sexual activity in our society- and the attendant societal problems...""

Part of the reason you're consistently creeped out is you don't score very high on reading comprehension. You've fused two different sentences of mine and changed their meaning. Here's the first: The majority of Americans, (including teens, while we at it), believe that teens should be taught to abstain from sex until married. Here's the second: Teaching abstinence-only sex ed is effective when done correctly and the comprehensive sex ed taught by the schools (for the last thirty-five years)has contributed to increased extra-marital sexual activity and societal problems. Both of these sentences are correct.

"The majority of Americans, like us at TeachTheFacts.org, want teens to practice abstinence. But most Americans, by a long shot, want the schools to teach the facts, all the facts -- a two to one majority wants schools to go beyond the abstinence-only curricula supported by this administration.

In 2004, Kaiser, NPR, and the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government asked parents a lot of questions about teen sex and about what kind of education they wanted.

72 percent of parents say it is very important, and 21 percent say somewhat important, "to have sex education as part of the school curriculum." I'll make it easy for you: that's 93 percent saynig it's important.

30 percent agreed with Statement 1: The federal government should fund sex education programs that have “abstaining from sexual activity” as their only purpose

67 percent agreed with Statement 2: The money should be used to fund more comprehensive sex education programs that include information on how to obtain and use condoms and other contraceptives

Anon, that's more than two to one. You can look for bias and loopholes for your subjective reasoning HERE

Last year we reported on a survey in Alabama that showed that even that conservative state, the Ultimate Red State, is strongly in favor of comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed. Look HERE for an Auburn University press release -- I can't find the original survey any more. A quote: "Regarding the content covered by sex education, a large majority (95-98 percent) of Alabamians support the inclusion of a wide range of topics such as STD’s, rape prevention, rape reporting and abstinence. The topic of contraception received support from 86 percent. The topic of homosexuality, which is the focus of much of the sex education controversy in Alabama and other states, received less but still significant support (72 percent) if it were taught from a neutral perspective which neither supports nor condemns any viewpoint."

Dude: that is Alabama. I am not aware of a similar survey in Montgomery County, Maryland, but it is fair to assume that the Ultimate Blue County will feel even more positively about comprehensive and inclusive education."

None of these poll findings contradict other polls finding that Americans want their kids taught sexual education in a moral context not a moral vacuum, as the Fishback revisions envisioned. One does wonder about the validity of polls when they indicate that Alabamans are more supportive of comprehensive sex ed than other Americans.

"As for your other point, there is no study anywhere showing that abstinence-only education results in lower rates of pregnancy or STDs among teens. It isn't "effective," as you assert. It isn't about picking a study, they all find that."

Actually, it is. Abstinence-only education is effective in delaying the age at which teens engage in sexual activity when based on societal norms and begun before adolescent sexual activity has commenced.

"So, Anon ... you're flat out wrong.

I will ignore the rest of your neener-neener-level arguments."

As for my "neener-neener-level arguments", here's a few that shouldn't be ignored:

1. The funding that schools would lose by not teaching abstinence is only funds that were set aside for that purpose. The schools don't lose any funding that they would have otherwise gotten. To imply anything else seems to me to be a lie and it's been told by TTF.

2. Long-term, abstinence-based education will save lives by reversing the damage done by valueless sex ed.

3. The Fishback revisions were not neutral with respect to homosexuality because they endorsed, without scientific validation, the notions that homosexuality is innate and that it is not disfunctional. These are ideas used by the gay affirmation movement but the science is ambiguous on one and the other is a value judgment .

4. The original post says the CDC, FDA and NIH are lying but provide no examples.

5. There is no civil right or entitlement to have one's impulses affirmed by society.

April 28, 2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/wm738.cfm

research into effectiveness of abstinence programs and polls of American attitudes

footnotes reference other studies

April 28, 2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Our Mission
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. (emphasis added)
From: http://www.heritage.org/about/

Interesting. Their mission says nothing about basing their research on scientific integrity or credibility. What a glaring omission for a group that touts itself as a "research and educational institute."

Christine

April 28, 2006 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cilly

This data is not hard science but more along the lines of sociology and psychology. That's what you're talking about when you're trying to determine if abstinence programs actually persuade youth to follow their advice. Some approaches work better than others but to say that science shows it's impossible is really ridiculous. Obviously, the same is true of trying to persuade them to use protection when engaging in promiscuity. The difficulty is similar, it's just a matter of how you frame the perceptions of youth and what the consequences will be as they become adults.

I just wasted some time reading this Glamour article which doesn't show any instances of lying by the CDC, FDA or NIH. It does contend that certain Congressmen have cited incorrect data in arguing for certain bills but, even if true, that's not quite the same thing and it's not clear whether the errors were intentional. It also noted an instance where the NCI cited a study linking breast cancer to abortion that turned out to be wrong but the NCI removed the information after it was alerted to this.

It also discusses how the CDC now encourages abstinence to prevent HPV instead of condoms. Is that a lie? Obviously, abstinence is more effective.

Still haven't seen any indication that the government has produced the "literature of lies" that Jim mentions.

April 28, 2006 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other thing, Cilly.

Jim said "there is no study anywhere showing that abstinence-only education results in lower rates of pregnancy or STDs among teens". Then I produce a paper that cites ten such studies in it's footnotes and you start attacking the organization that produced it.

It's a similar catch-22 to the line you guys take about ex-gays. There's no such thing until someone produces one. Then your line switches to "well, they were never a real gay".

How long will people continue to fall for this malarkey?

April 28, 2006 1:18 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I can't answer your question, Anon, but recent polls seem to indicate the public has reached the end of its rope with all the malarkey that's been ruining the integrity and credibility of our federal government's scientific institutions, among other things.

The catch 22 comes from the religious right's reliance on malarkey, psuedo science, and smoke and mirrors to make its case.

Christine

April 28, 2006 2:00 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Well, I can be sure the Heritage Foundation has the "real facts". I know that HHS had a website they pulled after it was clear that the site instead of providing scientific/medically based facts was produced with the help of a conservative religious group. I know that the gov't can be biased- I worked for an agency in which there was a witchhunt by Gary Bauer during the Reagan administration trying to attack organizations that the agency had funded.

And yes, there are no ex-gays. Just straight people and gay people.

Andrea

April 28, 2006 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was there wrong information on the HHS site, Andrea, or did just fail to endorse liberal points of view? Any examples? Your juxtaposition of scientific facts and conservative religious views is a false dichotomy.

April 28, 2006 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And yes, there are no ex-gays."

Sorry, Andrea. I've met 'em and talked to 'em. They're real and their story is convincing.

April 28, 2006 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't answer your question, Anon, but recent polls seem to indicate the public has reached the end of its rope with all the malarkey that's been ruining the integrity and credibility of our federal government's scientific institutions, among other things."

Can you give me an example of a poll where the public has decided the government is using false scientific information?

April 28, 2006 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While there has long been a debate over what sex-ed programs should teach, the vast majority of Americans -- 93 percent -- support having sex-ed programs in schools, according to a 2004 poll by Kaiser, NPR and the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

One of the biggest areas of debate has been how much emphasis to put on abstinence in sex-ed programs. While both sides of the sex-ed debate generally agree that abstinence is the best policy for teens, they vehemently disagree on how it should be presented.

Meanwhile, more than one-third of Americans -- 36 percent -- believe abstinence shouldn't be the most important part of sex-ed programs, which should instead emphasize teaching teens to make responsible decisions about sex, the poll said."

I'll do the numbers for you. That means 64% of Americans believe that abstinence SHOULD be the most important part of sex-ed programs.

"Abstinence-only sex-ed was given a huge push in 1996, when President Clinton signed a welfare reform bill that earmarked millions of federal dollars for abstinence-only programs in schools.

Overall, the federal government has spent nearly $1 billion on the abstinence-only programs in the past decade."

The teen pregnancy rate has plummeted during this time.

""Religious conservatives now dominate the debate over sex education," said Janice Irvine, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and author of "Talk About Sex: The Battles Over Sex Education in the United States."

"They have rolled back the scope of programs across the country over the last two decades. It is one area of the culture wars in which they have been enormously successful," Irvine added."

And again, teen pregnancy rates have dropped.

April 28, 2006 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

teen pregnancy rates

1990

116.9 per 1000 women aged 15-19

2000

83.6 per 1000 women aged 15-19

April 28, 2006 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"And yes, there are no ex-gays."

Sorry, Andrea. I've met 'em and talked to 'em. They're real and their story is convincing


_______________

Yes straight people are everywhere even those the go by fairy tale label of "exgay. Exgay...no such term....


freebird

April 28, 2006 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said......

teen pregnancy rates

1990

116.9 per 1000 women aged 15-19

2000

83.6 per 1000 women aged 15-19

_____________________

Good ole sex education being ramped up in schools and proper condom usage, birth control, etc. ..WOW works even on pregnancy rates.

freebird

April 28, 2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, wow, I see, "the season" is over and now you got nothing to but troll the TTF site all day.

I wrote extensively about the Heritage Foundation study you wrote about, when the paper was first released. Those comments can be found HERE. The author of that report, Bob Lerner, is a friend of mine who is just now recovering from a massive heart attack and needs our blessings.

The Best Friends program is not sex-ed. It doesn't compare. If you can keep teens busy 24/7 doing community service, you're quite likely to cut into their whoopee time, I'd imagine. MCPS is not going to do that, and it's not what anybody means by an abstinence program.

Anon said Jim said "there is no study anywhere showing that abstinence-only education results in lower rates of pregnancy or STDs among teens". Then I produce a paper that cites ten such studies in it's footnotes and you start attacking the organization that produced it.

Anon, did this happen recently? I see no evidence of this exchange. You did link to a Heritage Foundation report, which I just commented on. It has some footnotes ... did you read them? I have been in airplanes all day, and didn't say anything about the Heritage Foundation, which is a political organization, not a scientific one.

Look, I'm in Phoenix, tomorrow is my dad's 85th birthday and all us kids are going to surprise him. If you're going to keep spamming the site, I'll just delete all your comments without reading them, when I get back to the hotel. We welcome your point of view, but please try to be a little civililzed about it. If you think you will win an argument or persuade anyone by insulting people and lying, then you're wrong, I will not provide you an audience for that kind of behavior. If you have a conservative point of view that you would like to express, please, choose your words carefully and join on in. We don't agree with what you say, of course, but we don't object to you saying it, if you can be decent about it.

If your argument is valid, then you shouldn't have to resort to these devices to get it across.

JimK

April 28, 2006 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"teen pregnancy rates

1990

116.9 per 1000 women aged 15-19

2000

83.6 per 1000 women aged 15-19

_____________________

Good ole sex education being ramped up in schools and proper condom usage, birth control, etc. ..WOW works even on pregnancy rates.

freebird"

I think you missed the point. Valueless sex ed was instituted in the early 70s. Abstinence programs swept the nation, and Bill Clinton began Federal funding, in the 90s.

April 30, 2006 3:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
"And yes, there are no ex-gays."

Sorry, Andrea. I've met 'em and talked to 'em. They're real and their story is convincing


_______________

Yes straight people are everywhere even those the go by fairy tale label of "exgay. Exgay...no such term...."

The attacks on people who say they have renounced homosexuality by gays is eerily reminiscent of cult members attacking those who quit the cult.

April 30, 2006 3:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If your argument is valid, then you shouldn't have to resort to these devices to get it across."

Not sure what devices you're referring to, Jim. Happy B-day to your Dad though.

Hey, I read some of your back pages and came across the Neil Young post. Here's something we can agree on. I love his latest album. I've been listening to it daily for months. I hate to utter blasphemy but I think I like it better than "After the Gold Rush".

April 30, 2006 3:17 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

"Abstinence-only sex-ed was given a huge push in 1996, when President Clinton signed a welfare reform bill that earmarked millions of federal dollars for abstinence-only programs in schools.

Overall, the federal government has spent nearly $1 billion on the abstinence-only programs in the past decade."

The teen pregnancy rate has plummeted during this time.


And the AIDS epidemic has done what, abated or raged on during this time? And what about other STDs like HPV or herpes or gonorrhea or syphilis? Have those abated or continued their assault on our public health? Look I agree that abstinence is great, I think we all do, but it's only good as long as people stick to it. Unfortunately, abstinence has a very high failure rate. For example the Silver Ring Thing, a widely used abstinence program, has a failure rate of 88%.

April 30, 2006 7:15 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Was there wrong information on the HHS site, Andrea, or did just fail to endorse liberal points of view? Any examples?

Yes there was incorrect information on the HHS site at www.4parents.gov. In fact, this website was so full of erroneous information that both Henry Waxman and Arlin Specter requested investigations of it.

The www.4parents.gov website was created by the National Physician’s Center for Family Resources via a no-bid contract like the one Halliburton got in Iraq. A no-bid contract was granted as if no other group, not even the CDC or NIH, was capable of creating a website with information about how parents should talk to their children about sexuality to this admininstration's liking.

To learn about the National Physician's Center for Family Resources, I encourage everyone to check out their website. Click on each of the 6 links and you will find a one page article, form, or list dated 2002.

This is the only company that was able to create the 4parent.gov site?

Christine

April 30, 2006 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said,The attacks on people who say they have renounced homosexuality by gays is eerily reminiscent of cult members attacking those who quit the cult.



How can you attack exgays? They do not exist. They are straight and who attacked straights?


freebird

April 30, 2006 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said,

I think you missed the point. Valueless sex ed was instituted in the early 70s. Abstinence programs swept the nation, and Bill Clinton began Federal funding, in the 90s.


__________

No point missed on those claiming abstinence and doing things like oral sex, etc, instead.

As Christine said...For example the Silver Ring Thing, a widely used abstinence program, has a failure rate of 88%.

Anonymous just because you say does not mean it is so.


Freebird

April 30, 2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Sorry I messed up the HTML this morning. These links should work properly.

the Silver Ring Thing

a failure rate of 88%.

Christine

April 30, 2006 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, abstinence has a very high failure rate."

Some programs work better than others. As I've mentioned above, any study necessarily focuses on one of the programs but the idea that somehow a study proves that teens can't be convinced is absurd. We need to find the right approach.

As the poll Jim mentioned above shows, two-thirds of Americans believe abstinence should be THE most important element of any comprehensive sex ed program. The discredited Fishback revisions clearly didn't do this but only paid lip service to the concept. Kids pick up on that. Hopefully, the new CAC will get it right. Then, the citizens of Montgomery County won't have to rise up in protest again.

May 01, 2006 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said, As the poll Jim mentioned above shows, two-thirds of Americans believe abstinence should be THE most important element of any comprehensive sex ed program. The discredited Fishback revisions clearly didn't do this but only paid lip service to the concept. Kids pick up on that. Hopefully, the new CAC will get it right. Then, the citizens of Montgomery County won't have to rise up in protest again.


Anon go back a read this whole site carefully...abstinence is mentioned/supported and we all know that it is 100% effective WHEN PRACTICED 100%.

Trouble is as you know...it is not practiced by all 100%. That is why a full comprehensive sex education curriculum is important. As for the suers well you know as a CRC member you will sue over anything if it does not say what you only want to hear no matter how flawed and lacking.

Kids are a whole lot smarter than you think Wyatt in that they are not easily led just because they hear the word sex, condoms or sexual orientation.

freebird

May 01, 2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said, As the poll Jim mentioned above shows, two-thirds of Americans believe abstinence should be THE most important element of any comprehensive sex ed program. The discredited Fishback revisions clearly didn't do this but only paid lip service to the concept. Kids pick up on that. Hopefully, the new CAC will get it right. Then, the citizens of Montgomery County won't have to rise up in protest again.


Anon go back a read this whole site carefully...abstinence is mentioned/supported and we all know that it is 100% effective WHEN PRACTICED 100%.

Trouble is as you know...it is not practiced by all 100%. That is why a full comprehensive sex education curriculum is important. As for the suers well you know as a CRC member you will sue over anything if it does not say what you only want to hear no matter how flawed and lacking.

Kids are a whole lot smarter than you think Wyatt in that they are not easily led just because they hear the word sex, condoms or sexual orientation.

freebird

May 01, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Some programs work better than others.

Can you point us to any abstinence-only programs with failure rates less than 88%?

Christine

May 01, 2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0074.html

May 01, 2006 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/20050617-102128-3937r.htm

May 01, 2006 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.azdhs.gov/phs/owch/abstinence.htm

May 01, 2006 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.physconsortium.com/pdfs/teen_birthrate_congress_09_27_00.pdf

May 01, 2006 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.taconic.net/re-search/abstinenceworks.htm

May 01, 2006 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.pbwrc.org/pages/task.htm

May 01, 2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Ah, great,, Anon found a link to a success in abstinence education ... in Uganda. Does it seem to you that the situation in Uganda may be a little different from here?

And here's yet another link to Lerner's study of a 24/7 community service program that is not abstinence-only education. we've been through this one. A Washington Times editorial, no less.

I don't know why you linked the Arizona site, it doesn't show any results, just describes the program.

The Consortium of State Physicians Resource Councils report is an interesting one. Did you look at the study itself? Listen, here's what they found: teens who have sex are more likely to get pregnant than teens who don't. They try to argue that since there was an increase in abstinence only education at the same time that the teen pregnancy rate dropped, abstinence-only education is responsible for the rate change. The case there is very weak, and the data meet no standard. Focused studies of particular abstinence programs do not find negative correlations with teen pregnancy and STDs, and averaging over the whole country without controlling for any other variables is silly.

The "re-search" site, with its animated-gif American flag and Christian cross on the homepage, is a rah-rah piece about abstinence programs, what we call preaching to the choir. It offers no new information.

The PBWRC site is just an ad for an abstinence program, in the same category as the Arizona site you linked.

This is what I call bull-oney.

JimK

May 01, 2006 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim K said, "This is what I call bull-oney."

Are you telling us Wyatt tried to fool everyone on this site? Let's see what is the term for that????????


freebird

May 01, 2006 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Misconstrual would be the term.

May 01, 2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They try to argue that since there was an increase in abstinence only education at the same time that the teen pregnancy rate dropped, abstinence-only education is responsible for the rate change."

Oh yeah, my bad, Jim. I mean just because teen pregancy shot through the roof and brand new, deadly sexually transmitted diseases appeared shortly after the introduction of valueless sex ed programs nationwide in the 70s doesn't mean the two are associated. Similarly, the fact that the problems reversed as abstinence programs increased in popularity doesn't mean a thing. What was I thinking? It must be a government conspiracy to make premarital promiscuity look bad.

May 02, 2006 6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can you point us to any abstinence-only programs with failure rates less than 88%?"

Oh, Christine, have you got any evidence of a comprehensive sex ed program that convinced even 12% of it's participants to change their behavior. Everything I've seen seems to indicate the impact of any program as negligible so convincing 12% to change dangerous behavior would be a significant improvement.

May 02, 2006 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wyatt said-----Oh yeah, my bad, Jim. I mean just because teen pregancy shot through the roof and brand new, deadly sexually transmitted diseases appeared shortly after the introduction of valueless sex ed programs nationwide in the 70s doesn't mean the two are associated. Similarly, the fact that the problems reversed as abstinence programs increased in popularity doesn't mean a thing. What was I thinking? It must be a government conspiracy to make premarital promiscuity look bad.

-----
Misconstrual would be the term for the above.

May 02, 2006 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon was asked, "Can you point us to any abstinence-only programs with failure rates less than 88%?"

--------
anon didn't

freebird

May 02, 2006 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Misconstrual would be the term for the above."

Facts are facts. You're not fooling anyone, free.

"anon was asked, "Can you point us to any abstinence-only programs with failure rates less than 88%?"

--------
anon didn't"

Well, "failure rate" wasn't defined. And I've yet to see a comp sex ed program that had an effect whatsoever on as much as 12% of participants.

May 02, 2006 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said,

Well, "failure rate" wasn't defined. And I've yet to see a comp sex ed program that had an effect whatsoever on as much as 12% of participants.

------

Okay anon you define failure rate

May 02, 2006 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why would I? I didn't bring it up.

May 02, 2006 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sure wyatt...sure...so ole bull from you and nothing to back it up.

May 02, 2006 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've yet to see any data from you confirming a success rate of higher than 12% for comp sex ed. I guess there isn't any. Sigh.

May 03, 2006 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

poor Wyatt looking for attention...

May 03, 2006 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an anonymous commenter but I can see why TTF wants to divert attention from the fact that valueless comp sex ed has been shown to have less success than ab-stress programs. That's why two-thirds of Americans favor ab-stress programs.

May 03, 2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...as a part of a full comprehensive sex ed program.

TTF supports a well rounded science supported sex ed. No fairy tales of exgays or bigotry toward gays, lesbians or transgendered.

freebird

May 03, 2006 10:34 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Anon said, As the poll Jim mentioned above shows, two-thirds of Americans believe abstinence should be THE most important element of any comprehensive sex ed program.

and later Anon changed it a bit to

That's why two-thirds of Americans favor ab-stress programs.

Nice try, He-who-refuses-to-use-his-name. What is it that 2/3 of Americans believe? They believe that abstinence should be the most important element of any COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED PROGRAM.

Here's the question and response on this topic in the "poll Jim mentioned above."

"Q12 In order for a school to get money from the federal government for one sex education
program, the law requires that the exclusive purpose of the program be to teach the benefits of "abstaining from sexual activity.” Which of the following statements comes closer to your view?
Statement 1: The federal government should fund sex education programs that have “abstaining from sexual activity” as their only purpose
Statement 2: The money should be used to fund more comprehensive sex education programs that include information on how to obtain and use condoms and other contraceptives"

Results:
Those who agreed with Statement 1: TOTAL=30, GRADES 7-8=24, GRADES 9-12=32

Those who agreed with Statement 2: TOTAL=67, GRADES 7-8=72, GRADES 9-12= 65


So even after being reminded that there's no federal money for schools' sex education programs unless the programs are solely focused on "abstaining from sexual activity," respondents prefered comprehensive sex education programs that teach teens about contraceptives over abstinence-only programs in our public schools by a factor of 2 to 1.

And here are some scientific findings that might explain why parents prefer their teens receive comprehensive sex education rather than abstinence-only preaching:

"...in communities where at least 20 percent of adolescents pledged [that is, took an abstinence pledge] the STD rates for everyone combined was 8.9 percent. In communities with less than 7 percent pledgers, the STD rate was 5.5 percent.

'It is the combination of hidden sex and unsafe sex that creates a world where people underestimate the risk of STDs,' Bearman said.

The study's other findings:
59 percent of males who did not pledge abstinence used a condom during sex; only 40 percent of male pledgers used a condom.
"
From: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/09/health/main604877.shtml

Christine

May 03, 2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your poll interpretations, Christine. I don't think the Fishback revisions made abstinence THE most important element.

I don't see anything in your data evaluating valueless comp sex ed. I guess you're implying that anyone who didn't go through ab-only went through comp sex ed but some distinction must be missing to explain why, nationally, comp sex ed introduction coincided with increased teen pregancy while ab-only was associated with a reduction.

Is it possible that fewer ab-only used condoms when having sex because fewer of them had sex outside a monogamous relationship?

May 03, 2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anoymous said, I don't think the Fishback revisions made abstinence THE most important element.

________________
That is the problem you don't think and you don't know.

Abstinence is supported as being 100% effective and is stated how many times???????? The issue with you Wyatt is that you want that to be the only topic discussed in sex ed. Never going to happen as we know abstinence is not practiced by a good number 100% of time.


freebird

May 03, 2006 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Condom use isn't present in promiscuous situations 100% of the time either. Yet the FB revisions want to emphasize it. I think all of us would be fine discussing it if societal moral standards were also brought up. There is no evidence that valueless sex ed has reduced dangerous promiscuous behavior. If it was, two-thirds of Americans might be on your side instead of ours.

I'm an anonymous commenter, KR.

May 03, 2006 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wyatt said, Condom use isn't present in promiscuous situations 100% of the time either.

Yes and that is why condom use and abstinence should be taught side by side...not just what you like to hear.

Abstinence programs do not have that great track record.

(from Christine)
What is it that 2/3 of Americans believe? They believe that abstinence should be the most important element of any COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED PROGRAM.

freebird

May 03, 2006 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM) Planning Guidebook

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/ntppm.htm

May 03, 2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

anon said, "while ab-only was associated with a reduction"

Press Release Harvard School of Public Health

"Virginity Pledges" by Adolescents May Bias Their Reports of Premarital Sex
Most Adolescents Disavowed Their Pledge Within a Year

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 2, 2006


Boston, MA -- Adolescents who sign a "virginity pledge" and then go on to have premarital sex are likely to disavow having signed such a pledge, according to an analysis of survey data by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researcher Janet Rosenbaum published in the advance online edition of the American Journal of Public Health's June 2006 issue. Conversely, adolescents who have had premarital sex and then decide to make a virginity pledge are likely to misreport their earlier sexual history. This misreporting of sexual experience will make it difficult to accurately assess virginity pledges’ effects on early sexual intercourse, according to the author.

Moreover, the fact that the majority of adolescents recanted their vows within a year may suggest that the virginity pledge programs have a high drop-out rate and that adolescents do not make a strong affiliation with the pledge, said the author.

Rosenbaum, a doctoral student in health policy at HSPH, examined data from 13,568 adolescents who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a survey sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the only large national study of its kind that has asked questions about virginity pledges, defined as "a public or written pledge to remain a virgin until marriage."

The analysis of this nationally representative sample compared respondents' reports of virginity pledges and sexual histories in an initial 1995 survey with their reports in a follow up survey a year later. The researcher looked for whether participants failed to report either a previously reported pledge or sexual experience during the second survey.

The conclusion was that adolescents inconsistently report their histories of sexual intercourse and that reports from virginity pledgers were less reliable than non-pledgers.

Recanting sexual experience: Almost one-third of non-virgins in the first survey who later took a virginity pledge recanted their experience with sexual intercourse in the second survey. Adolescents who took virginity pledges or who later became born-again Christians were more likely to repudiate their earlier reports of having been sexually active. Of teens who reported a sexual experience at the first survey, those who later took a virginity pledge were four times as likely to retract reports of sexual experience as those who still had not taken a pledge at the second survey.

Recanting virginity pledges: The analysis also found that 52 percent of adolescent virginity pledgers in the 1995 survey disavowed the virginity pledge at the next survey a year later. Additionally, 73 percent of virginity pledgers from the first survey who subsequently reported sexual intercourse denied in the second survey that they had ever pledged. Adolescents who end their affiliation with born-again Christianity or who had sexual intercourse were the groups most likely to deny their virginity pledges.

The author concludes that adolescents' self-reported history of sexual intercourse is an unreliable measure for studies of the effectiveness of virginity pledges. Moreover, the research suggests that teens’ pervasive recanting of sex makes general research on teen sexuality of particular difficulty. Most worrisome, said Rosenbaum, is that teens who do not acknowledge their sexually active past may perceive their new history as correct and will underestimate the sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk stemming from their prepledge sexual behavior. On average the retractors had more than two sexual partners.

"It's very tempting to craft stories about what may have been going on in these adolescents' minds as they changed their recollections," said Rosenbaum, "but survey data doesn't give us enough information to substantiate the stories. We can say that evaluating the effectiveness of virginity pledge programs is more difficult and complex than we may have thought. A better and more reliable measure than adolescents' self-reported sexual history might be the straightforward results of medical STD tests."

The project was funded in part by the Milton Fund of Harvard Medical School in a grant to HSPH Assistant Professor Michael Ganz.



Contact:
Robin Herman
HSPH Office of Communications
(617) 432-4752
rherman@hsph.harvard.edu




Kay R

May 04, 2006 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM) Planning Guidebook"

Anon, I looked at this and didn't see and statistics. Is there something buried in some of the pages that you wanted to point out?

May 04, 2006 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kay

I agree that all these studies, (and I think it applies to the sexual orientation stuff too) relies on subjective self-reporting. That's why I think looking at the teen pregnancy rates as valueless sex ed and ab-stress sex ed were introduced is instructive.

Straw Man

May 04, 2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes and that is why condom use and abstinence should be taught side by side...not just what you like to hear."

If condom use is taught as appropriate between married couples that would be fine. Don't worry, the promiscuous kids will figure out it will work on unmarried people too. And society will have presented the kids with a morally healthy viewpoint.

"Abstinence programs do not have that great track record."

That's like saying math classes don't have a great track record. It depends on who's doing the teaching and on what approach is taken. Honestly, I haven't seen any evidence that valueless comp sex ed alters behavior to a greater degree than an ab-stress program.

"(from Christine)
What is it that 2/3 of Americans believe? They believe that abstinence should be the most important element of any COMPREHENSIVE SEX ED PROGRAM."

comp sex ed comes in different flavors; Americans want sexual morality taught to their kids

Straw Man

May 04, 2006 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TeachTheFacts, there's no way you can run civil, constructive online discussions if you're not willing to ban vandals, or demand that anonymous troublemakers either identify themselves or shove off.

Just think about it, okay ?

TNH

May 04, 2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Anon, give us an example of a "valueless" sex ed program that had no effect on teen pregnancy rates.

May 05, 2006 6:35 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Uganda- abstinence only- that story is only promoted in Christian/right wing political websites. A study by Johns Hopkin found that HIV/AIDs numbers went down due a combination of factors including deaths of those with HIV/AIDs and the distribution of condoms. The high rate of HIV/Aids was related also to a wartime period in the '80s(rape is a common tactic by some military- today in Sudan and Burma- it is widespread). There was/is a concern that the HIV rates would go up again with a smaller number of bad quality condoms being distributed- due to the promotion of the US program and withdrawal of funds for birth/disease control. In fact the program was supposed to be Abstinence, Be faithful, Use condoms -but of course, as promoted by the current administration- it would be be abstinence only -because that takes away the unwanted factors of people having sex while using condoms.

Hey Wyatt- since I know you like to dismiss my social action- I fed the street guys in DC two weeks ago, rallied for Darfur last week and sent a contribution to promote democracy in Burma. We have a big protest on the 16th- See you there?

May 05, 2006 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was just watching tv and a comercial came on and it said anyone who has sex before mariage will not be successful and thats just bs and it was aimed at the parents if any parent listens to that their kid is proibably better off by them self

September 18, 2007 12:24 AM  

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