Friday, April 02, 2010

Who Is Responsible For the Abstinence Package?

James Wagoner, of Advocates for Youth, had exactly the same question I did about abstinence-until-marriage education being funded in the new health care reform bill: Who is responsible for putting it there? The program had been put to sleep last year when the President's budget allocated nothing to it, and then it popped up again in an indirect paragraph on page 610 of a two-thousand-page bill. Wagoner has connections, he asked around about the history of the bizarre resurrection of this program that was well proven not to work. He got no solid answers but there is plenty of scuttlebutt. Here is the entirety of an article he posted online yesterday, carried at RH Reality Check:
Lost in the shuffle of analysis of the new health care reform legislation is the fact that Democrats included over $250 million for failed Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. The funds had been inserted in the health care reform legislation by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) during Senate Finance Committee consideration of the bill last summer and, somehow, quietly survived the process of revisions that went on last fall.

Never mind that these programs place the health and lives of young people at risk by denying them medically accurate information about condoms and birth control. Never mind that an exhaustive eight-year evaluation by Mathematica published in April, 2007 showed that these programs have “no impact on teen behavior.”

Never mind that 22 states had rejected Title V funding in the past because they did not want to spend precious matching funds on programs that don’t work. Never mind that Speaker Pelosi condemned these programs at the Netroots conference in 2008. Bottom line is they are back, and Democrats seem none to eager to own up to who threw young people under the bus!

Here are some of the things we are hearing. Even though a number of prominent Democrats including Cong. Henry Waxman (D-CA) had contacted leadership and demanded that the ab-only programs be pulled from the bill, we’ve been told that leadership was focused on the "bigger issues" and never reached consideration of the ab-only piece.

Boy, does that ever smack of the “dog ate my homework” excuse. There was no rationale for keeping this amendment in the bill. Hatch is a Republican who opposes health care reform so there was no political need to placate the author of the measure. Taking Title V out of the bill would have saved a quarter billion dollars over five years and Democrats were desperate for savings so they could show that the bill would reduce the federal deficit.

Finally, we’ve been hearing that the recent publication of the Jemmott study showed that abstinence-only programs really work. One small problem with that line of thinking. Jemmott’s program would not qualify for Title V funding since it doesn’t follow the rigid, ideological eight-point definition—a point made by the authors themselves! So there is still no evidence those programs work; in fact quite the contrary.

The bottom line is that staff could have removed the funding in no time unless someone insisted on keeping it in the bill. So, a significant question comes to mind. Was the Title V funding part of the Stupak deal? Was it one more reproductive and sexual health “chit” traded away for conservative Democratic votes? If so, we have a right to know. Transparency is critical in determining how our legislative agenda is faring on Capitol Hill. We were sold out, and we have a right to know the rationale of those who did it.

We usually think of advocacy campaigns in terms of having an effect on legislative outcomes. After the bill passes, we typically move on. I think the egregious nature of including failed and dangerous abstinence-only-until-marriage funding in the health care bill merits a follow-up campaign during which we hold the Democrats accountable for sacrificing the health and well-being of young people. Stay tuned! Who Put Failed Ab-Only Programs Back in Health Care Reform? And Why?

It is interesting to know that the paragraph was inserted by a Republican Senator when the Democrats were trying to work out a bipartisan agreement on health care reform. As we all know, not a single Republican voted for the biill in either house of Congress. So why wasn't the wording taken out? You make an offer, the deal falls apart, you take back what you offered. That doesn't seem so hard.

Apparently, as Wagoner says, "someone insisted on keeping it in the bill." And the question is: who?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GASP! The Democrats didn't read the final bill!?????



April 02, 2010 7:52 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, I would be sure staff read the bill. I expect that House Democrats left that paragraph in there for a reason, to placate somebody. The question is -- who?


April 02, 2010 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when children's pre-existing conditions weren't covered in the bill, who was that supposed to placate?

April 02, 2010 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was over 2000 page long

they had 72 hours

Dems can't read that fast

it's not their fault

they were dropped on their heads as babies

April 02, 2010 10:45 PM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

"he asked around about the history of the bizarre resurrection of this program that was well proven not to work"

interesting how obsessed the fringe element in our society is at making damn sure no one utters the idea that extra-marital sex is wrong

the same blah-blah dribble repeated endlessly

there is actually no evidence that comp sex ed "works"

while we're at it, there is no proof cancer can be cured either

doesn't mean you stop trying

the idea that sex should be delayed until marriage benefits a society if it is widely accepted and saves lives

it does so incrementally too

it's money well spent

April 03, 2010 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Merle said...

D-bunk, one question: were you a virgin when you got married?

April 03, 2010 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course he was...and probably still is!

April 03, 2010 8:56 AM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

I'd like to answer you, Merle, but have made it a policy to avoid answering personal questions on this blog

the problem is, you open that door and, given the pattern of discussions here, you need to keep responding to endless comments or leave an incorrect impression

the question, however, is not anyone's personal experience but what view is best for society

even if few people succeed in avoiding fornication, the view that it is wrong restrains promiscuity and benefits society

indeed, polls show that around 90% of Americans believe fornication is wrong

think of it this way: everyone thinks it's wrong to lie but few live an entire life never having done it

April 03, 2010 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

Interesting discussion, guys. Try this on for size. Imagine that, instead of restricting sex to the marital context, people learned to enjoy good sex. Imagine that sex education taught girls how to achieve orgasms, taught boys how to please a woman, along with teaching them to be responsible and avoid disease and unwanted pregnancy. Imagine that couples learned to experience pleasure in their relationships, to enjoy not only the easily-justified penis-in-vagina intercourse but all variations of pleasurable interactions, the whole Kama Sutra. This is not to suggest promiscuous or casual sex, which is usually not very good, but good pleasurable sex between lovers.

That sounds a lot better to me than some fuddy-duddy world where sex between unmarried lovers is labeled "fornication" and treated like something dirty.

And anyway, debunking, we know what the answer to the question is. You were not a virgin when you married. Nobody is. You only think other people should be.

April 03, 2010 11:03 AM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

"Imagine that, instead of restricting sex to the marital context, people learned to enjoy good sex."


the ignorant fool who wrote believes he can mislead people into thinking that keeping sex within a marital context means people can't learn to enjoy "good sex"

to the actual contrary, surveys have consistently shown that married couples generally enjoy sex more than promiscuous partners

April 03, 2010 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

"married couples generally enjoy sex more than promiscuous partners"


Re-read what I wrote, moron: "This is not to suggest promiscuous or casual sex, which is usually not very good, but good pleasurable sex between lovers."

April 03, 2010 12:23 PM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

ignorant fool:

you're not entitled to recreate the English language

that's a fringe delusion

April 03, 2010 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

No definitions have been altered. If you think all sex outside of marriage is "promiscuous or casual" then you're the one redefining things.

April 03, 2010 1:13 PM  
Anonymous ha-ha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 03, 2010 1:13 PM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

dictionary definition of promiscuous:

"not restricted to one sexual partner"

false dichotomy of ignorant fool:

"Imagine that, instead of restricting sex to the marital context, people learned to enjoy good sex."

Oh, I guess the ignorant fool could have meant those who restrict themselves to one partner for life without getting formally married but...

he didn't

he's just an ignorant fool

with a capital "I"

April 03, 2010 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why so many blacks support the Democratic Party.

Perhaps this latest scandal will change that:

"After 14 months of committing 100% to health care reform, the day after the signing of the bill was to mark the Democratic Party’s new primary concern: destroy the uprising, annihilate by all means necessary, the Tea Party movement.

The first sign that a plan was in place was the ham-fisted, high-camp posturing of the most controversial members of the Democratic caucus walking through the peaceful but animated “Tea Party” demonstrators on Capitol Hill. There is no reason for these elected officials to walk above ground through the media circus amid their ideological foes. The natural route is the tunnels between the House office buildings and the Capitol. By crafting a highly symbolic walk of the Congressional Black Caucus through the majority white crowd, the Democratic Party was looking to provoke a negative reaction. They didn’t get it. So they made it up.

The proof that the N-word wasn’t said once, let alone 15 times, as Rep. Andre Carson claimed, is that soon thereafter — even though the press dutifully reported it as truth — Nancy Pelosi followed the alleged hate fest, which allegedly included someone spitting, by walking through the crowd with a gavel in hand and a shit-eating grin on her face. Had the incidents reported by the Congressional Black Caucus actually occurred the Capitol Police would have been negligent to allow the least popular person to that crowd – the Speaker – to put herself in harm’s way.

That crowd was a sea of new-media equipment. Not only were tens of thousands people armed with handicams, BlackBerrys and iPods, so also was the mainstream media there, covering every inch of the event. Why did not one mainstream media outlet raise the specter that perhaps a video would exist to prove the events occurred?

April 03, 2010 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nancy Pelosi tipped her hand that race was a central part of her strategy. She invoked the Civil Rights Act and compared it with the universally reviled health care bill. Her caucus is doubling down on the civil-rights rhetoric. There are no coincidences.

Linking the health-care bill, which has nothing to do with black and white, to the divisive civil-rights period, while simultaneously accusing its opponents of being racist, is an evil strategy — literally. Charles Manson would approve.

The Democratic Party is trying to signal to the black community and to progressive media types that the way to push back against the Tea Party and Republicans is to use the reliable race card by provoking a racial incident. The ensuing rhetoric about the bill and about the nature of the Tea Party is based upon repeated talking points. Propaganda. Everyone is on message that Republicans and Tea Partiers are racist — a divisive and dangerous argument, lacking in any shred of evidence.

Those in the movement who are Hispanic or black are given the Clarence Thomas treatment: mocked, ridiculed and marginalized. The Democratic party cannot afford for minority groups to break from the pack, so they show that apostasy is met with high-grade ridicule. Those willing to withstand vile and hateful un-American taunts are some of America’s greatest patriots.

I smelled a rat so I offered at first $10k five days after the highly publicized alleged incidents happened. How could we be five full news cycles into this major controversy and not have any evidence? In fact, the existing footage showed the Congressional Black Caucus walking and never once moving their heads toward any “racist outbursts.” Is it conceivable that all of them stoically walked by the N-word as it was hurled 15 times — as they were holding up cameras to convey they were suspicious of the crowd to begin with?

We are now two weeks since the bill was signed and the $10k reward jumped to $20k in a day after it was mentioned on both Hannity and O’Reilly. At the Searchlight Tea Party event last weekend I upped the ante to $100k. So where’s the evidence? Ken Vogel of Politico covered this story and said calls to Rep. John Lewis — one of the originator’s of the N-word storyline – were never returned.

Nancy Pelosi did a great disservice to a great civil rights icon by thrusting him out there to perform this mischievous task. His reputation is now on the line as a result of her desperation to take down the Tea Party movement.

We’ve called their bluff. And they have tried to back off. They realize that this race warfare can backfire, just as it did with the Sergeant Crowley boner by Barack Obama who stupidly said the white police officer had behaved “stupidly” in handcuffing Skip Gates."

April 03, 2010 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

Amazing. D-bunk accuses me of "recreating the English language" and then recreates the language himself, publishing a made-up definition of a familiar word. No, D-bunk, promiscuous does not mean "not restricted to one sexual partner."

From the Free Dictionary:
pro·mis·cu·ous (pr-msky-s) adj.
1. Having casual sexual relations frequently with different partners; indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.
2. Lacking standards of selection; indiscriminate.
3. Casual; random.
4. Consisting of diverse, unrelated parts or individuals; confused: "Throngs promiscuous strew the level green" (Alexander Pope).

April 03, 2010 2:54 PM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

my definition was cut and pasted from, the Merriam Webster site

they been in the definition business for a while

of course, the "free" dictionary sounds like a source for ignorant fools

especially, with a capital "I"

April 03, 2010 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

One point for D-bunk. He did cite the third meaning of "promiscuous" from the Merriam Webster online Dictionary. I am trying to think of an instance where we would say someone was "promiscuous" because they had two sex partners.

From Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: pro·mis·cu·ous
Pronunciation: \pr?-?mis-ky?-w?s\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin promiscuus, from pro- forth + misc?re to mix — more at pro-, mix
Date: 1601

1 : composed of all sorts of persons or things
2 : not restricted to one class, sort, or person : indiscriminate
3 : not restricted to one sexual partner
4 : casual, irregular

April 03, 2010 3:18 PM  
Anonymous debunking the fringe said...

leaving aside the definition of prom dates, C-to-O, what's wrong with encouraging teens to abstain until marriage

what's the worst that could happen under that scenario?

April 03, 2010 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

The worst is that they will learn that adults and other authorities lie, and reject the real wisdom that has accumulated in our culture, baby with bathwater.

We know that abstinence-till-marriage instruction does not affect sexual behavior. The most you can hope for is that young people will feel guilty while they're having sex. I don't see any direct benefit from that, it will only spoil something that could be joyful and loving.

April 03, 2010 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is anything regarding sex even taught in the schools? The schools should stay out of it. Period.

April 03, 2010 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

"Anything regarding sex" is taught in schools because there is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and because teen pregnancy rates are too high. Also, because sexual responsibility is a critical aspect of adult life, and young people should learn to manage that as well as balance a budget and play lacrosse.

April 03, 2010 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a parental responsibility. End of story.

April 03, 2010 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

So if your neighbor teaches his son that girls who won't willingly have sex with him are frigid and deserve to be raped, that's ok with you? Your daughter should live with the consequences of that family's "parental responsibility?" Not me, man, I don't think so. I want to live among civilized people.

Anon, sexual behavior is a social issue that affects all of us. We need to contain the STD epidemic, we need to cut down the number of unwanted babies being born, and individuals need to learn where their boundaries are.

April 03, 2010 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh brother (rolling my eyes). You're really reaching.
If a parent is teaching his son that it's okay to rape girls, then the poor boy needs more help than a sex education class in school.

April 03, 2010 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Contrary to Ordinary said...

Where do you think boys learn it, Anon, if not at home? Would you object to schools teaching students that rape is not all right?

April 03, 2010 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Reality Check said...

Priests preach the sanctity of holy matrimony and the importance of abstinence while they abuse children entrusted to them for moral guidance by parents who practice what the priests preach.

If priests who have dedicated their lives to Jesus can't even maintain abstinence in their roles within the Catholic Church, what makes anyone think hormonal teenagers can?

“There is no shortcut to addressing the past,” said Ireland’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin during a Holy Week Mass. “This has been a difficult year. We see how damaging failure of integrity and authenticity are to the body of Christ. Shameful abuse took place within the church of Christ. The response was hopelessly inadequate.”

April 04, 2010 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I've heard that in Maine they're having their Easter egg hunts on green grass this year, rather than the more usual snowbanks.

I wonder how relevent this very local particular weather fact is to reasonable discussions about climate change.

The answer is, only a little.


April 04, 2010 2:43 PM  

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