Friday, November 30, 2007

The Candidates on Sex Ed

Women's E-News has a nice informative article that summarizes the presidential candidates' views on sex education.

They have a nice, brief introduction to the topic and why it's important. Readers of this blog probably don't need that level of introduction, most of us have been paying attention to this subject at least in the last couple of years, especially as it's played out for those of us who live in Montgomery County, Maryland.

So ... click on the link above for more information. I hope they don't mind if I copy and paste their summary of the candidates' positions on this important subject.
  • Joe Biden supports "age-appropriate" and comprehensive sex education but the Delaware senator has also voted to fund abstinence programs.
  • Hillary Clinton has favored abstinence-plus for a decade. In 1996 as first lady she helped launch the teen pregnancy campaign, which has a goal of reducing teen pregnancy by one-third by 2015 through comprehensive education and awareness. Ten years later, as New York senator, she introduced the Prevention First Act, which would have allocated $100 million for family planning services in an effort to curb teen pregnancy.
  • Chris Dodd's Web site says the Connecticut senator is "appalled" by the Bush administration's abstinence-only programs.
  • John Edwards promotes comprehensive sex education according to his Web site. The former North Carolina senator's campaign did not return phone calls.
  • Mike Gravel, former senator from Alaska, said he favored comprehensive sex education in a questionnaire he returned to the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights group.
  • Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the only presidential candidate who is a co-sponsor of the Responsible Education About Life Act that emphasizes comprehensive programs.
  • Illinois Sen. Barack Obama introduced the Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2007 in Illinois. He respects abstinence as a choice but also advocates age-appropriate comprehensive sex education.
  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson favors abstinence-plus.

  • Rudi Giuliani, the only Republican candidate still waffling about his pro-choice stance, avoids the topic. He talks about increasing adoptions and decreasing abortions but is mum on sex education. As New York City mayor for eight years, he presided over a major free condom distribution campaign that included public schools. A campaign spokesperson says Giuliani's stance can be compared to what he says about education in general: "The enforcer of standards should . . . be the parent."
  • John McCain promotes abstinence-only programs but the Arizona senator has previously promoted comprehensive sex education.
  • Mitt Romney promoted abstinence education in Massachusetts classrooms as governor of that state from 2003 to 2007. Romney mentioned this in the May South Carolina debates to show his credentials as a "clear and consistent conservative." Alex Burgos, a campaign staffer, said Romney believes schools should "promote abstinence as part of their health curriculum and teach that marriage comes before babies." Romney, however, checked a box saying he supported comprehensive sex education in a 2002 Planned Parenthood candidate survey.
  • Fred Thompson, former Tennessee senator, backs abstinence education.
  • Duncan Hunter, California representative, favors "equal emphasis" on abstinence. He wants to give abstinence the same amount of teaching as the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Mike Huckabee favors abstinence-only and opposes abstinence-plus. In response to a question asking whether his religious beliefs would allow him to support AIDS prevention in Africa that might include contraception, the Arkansas governor compared it with domestic violence and said compromising on either issue is not an option. "We don't say that a little domestic violence is OK, just cut it down a little, just don't hit quite as hard," says the former Arkansas governor. "We say it's wrong."
  • Ron Paul, the Texas representative, favors abstinence-only programs.
  • Tom Tancredo, the Colorado representative, favors abstinence-only programs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope everyone's having a great AIDS Day! Read a story in the Post, page A2, of how President Bush kicked off the observance with a meeting of missionaries from local evangelicals on the forefront of battling the AIDS epidemic worldwide.

Eye-opening is the story on the Post's front page. While it was reported last week that AIDS cases have been substantially over-reported in areas of the globe where abstinence education has been supported by the government and where the missionary effort is concentrating, it turns out that in the U.S., the previously considered infallible statistical source CDC, has vastly under-reported the increase in AIDS infections. Tellingly, since 2001, a period of increasing tolerance of homosexuality, new AIDS cases in GAYS have increased by 13%.

It appears that new AIDS cases in the gay population correlates closely with tolerance of homosexuality in society.

Historically speaking, in the 70s, you had an movie with a gay protagonist that won the Best Picture Oscar. You had a #1 rated TV show with a major gay character. The best selling popular musician of the time was openly gay. You had rampant random promiscuity in gay bathhouses in major American cities.

What immediately followed was the introduction of a new, invariably fatal sexually transmitted disease, AIDS. The public woke up and a backlash ensued.

Now, as we have forgotten the past, and over the last few years, again began to wink at this unnatural behavior, AIDS has begun to climb again. Who knows what surprises are in store for the future and when we will ever learn.

Do most Americans really know what they are winking at? What we are portraying as normal in our schools? Do they know that homosexuality really involves sado-masochistic activity where the stronger partner forces the weaker one to engage in painful and humiliating acts so the stronger partner can pretend he is heterosexual? That AIDS is only the worst of many health problems cause by this activity? That mental health is adversely affected by these activities?

Again, who knows what surprises are ahead.

December 01, 2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tellingly, since 2001, a period of decreasing funding for comprehensive sex ed programs while increasing federal funding for abstinence-only sex education programs that were required to include only the failure rate of condoms if they were mentioned at all - condoms that are very effective at stopping the transmission of the AIDS virus - new AIDS cases in GAYS have increased by 13% as case of AIDS have increased at a much higher rate in HETEROSEXUALS.

December 01, 2007 2:58 PM  
Blogger David Weintraub said...

"[Who] knows what surprises are ahead."

That you get your ass handed to you, apparently. Again, do you know any actual gay people? It sure doesn't sound that way.

December 01, 2007 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing us to the candidate's views on this important topic. Abstinence-only is only half of what teens need to learn. I think it's also important to point out, as the Women's E-News article did, that Maryland is not the only state refusing abstinence-only federal money.

Over a dozen states have dodged abstinence-only curricula for their schools by declining the funds that mandate it.

On Nov. 14 Virginia became the latest when Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's proposed budget eliminated the $275,000 matching grant that is part of the federal funding.

Why are more and more states refusing this federal money? Because several studies, including a congressional study found that abstinence-only education--which emphasizes chastity, or abstaining from sex, as the best practice for teens--did not significantly delay their decisions whether to have sex.

If we don't teach teens the proper way to use condoms, we will continue to see increases in the number of Americans who become infected with AIDS each year.


December 02, 2007 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jimi true said...
"Do they know that homosexuality really involves sado-masochistic activity where the stronger partner forces the weaker one to engage in painful and humiliating acts so the stronger partner can pretend he is heterosexual?"

Bad date?

December 03, 2007 5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran across this site with a lot of good links in regard to Abstinence Only “education.”

One thing I found was that “abstinence-plus” is only about 5% abstinence and I’m assuming the rest is comprehensive. “Comprehensive plus-abstinence” would seem to be a better descriptor. Point being, it doesn’t seem to be as bad as its namesake implies.

They also have a link to:

Waxman's Congressional Report Finds that Abstinence-Only Programs Contain False and Misleading Information

Which shows that:

"The report finds that over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over twothirds of SPRANS [Special Programs of Regional and National Significance Community-Based Abstinence Education] grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health."

Of which includes:

"One curriculum says that “the popular claim that ‘condoms help prevent the spread of STDs,’ is not supported by the data”; another states that “[i]n heterosexual sex, condoms fail to prevent HIV approximately 31% of the time”; and another teaches that a pregnancy occurs one out of every seven times that couples use condoms. These erroneous statements are presented as proven scientific facts.

5% to 10% of women who have legal abortions will become sterile

One curriculum incorrectly lists exposure to sweat and tears as risk factors for HIV transmission.

Another curriculum states that “twenty-four chromosomes from the mother and twenty-four chromosomes from the father join to create this new individual”; the correct number is 23."

It goes on and on and on. These people aren’t even trying to APPEAR legitimate. It’s just another veiled dominionist attempt to get religion into the schools – at the expense of the health and welfare and lives of school kids themselves.

Teaching abstinence is one thing, but in the age of AIDS, teaching ignorance-ONLY and lies on top, in order to accomplish that goal, is nothing short of murderous.

December 03, 2007 6:10 AM  

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