The problematic and completely unnecessary Comprehensive Sex Ed bill, HB 3027 (Amendments 1 and 3), may be voted on in the Illinois State House this week. This bill is unnecessary because any school district that wants to use a comprehensive sex ed curriculum is currently free to do so. If passed, this law will be used to get increasingly graphic and controversial information into middle and high schools.
Once again, liberal lawmakers are attempting to usurp local control in their quest to impose their moral views about sexuality — including homosexuality — on other people’s children through mandated comprehensive sex ed. To compound the outrage, they have no evidence proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are more effective than authentic abstinence curricula. Despite mainstream media accounts to the contrary, there is substantial evidence that abstinence curricula are at least as effective and often more effective than comprehensive sex ed curricula.
Using sex ed research is a tricky, complex, and confusing business, made all the more challenging by the indefensible bias of the mainstream media and the problematic claims of comprehensive sex educators. Here’s just one example:
Critics of abstinence programs point to a Mathematica Policy Research report released in April 2007 that compared the behavior of students in abstinence programs with that of students who were in comprehensive sex ed programs as evidence of the failure of abstinence programs. That study revealed the following:
- Kids in both groups (abstinence and control groups) were knowledgeable about the risks of having sex without using a condom or other form of protection.
- Condom use was not high in either group.
- By the end of the study, when the average child was just shy of 17, half of both groups had remained abstinent.
- The sexually active teenagers had sex the first time at about age 15.
- More than a third of both groups had two or more partners.
This study, however, also found this:
- A greater number of students in abstinence programs correctly identified STDs than did students in control groups.
- A greater number of students in abstinence programs reported correctly that birth control pills do not prevent STDs than did students in control groups.
After reading this report, Martha Kempner of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States declared that, “Abstinence-only was an experiment and it failed.” Curiously, Ms. Kempner looked at the abstinence programs analyzed in this study, which have largely the same results as comprehensive sex ed programs–except that they better prepare students with a knowledge of STD-prevention–and she declares that only abstinence programs are failures.
I would argue that if abstinence programs are deemed a failure and worthy of defunding, then comprehensive sex ed programs, which in some studies have virtually the same results, should also be deemed a failure and defunded.
Some state lawmakers need to ask State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Karen Yarbrough (D-Chicago) — the bill’s chief sponsors — or any of the co-sponsors of the bill the following questions:
- Precisely why do you believe this legislation is necessary?
- Do you have research that proves typical comprehensive sex ed curricula solve the problem or problems you see within the adolescent population?
- Is there research proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are more effective than abstinence curricula in delaying age of initial sexual encounter (i.e., intercourse)?
- Is there research proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are more effective than abstinence curricula in reducing the numbers of sexual partners during adolescence?
- Is there research proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are more effective than abstinence curricula in reducing the number of STDs and STIs?
- Is there research proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are more effective than abstinence curricula in reducing the numbers of teen pregnancies?
- Is there research proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are more effective than abstinence curricula in reducing the numbers of teen abortions?
- Is there research proving that students who have been taught in classes that use comprehensive sex ed curricula are more knowledgeable about STDs and STIs than students who have been taught in classes that use abstinence curricula?
No lawmaker should sponsor or vote for this bill unless they can provide strong, unchallenged research proving that comprehensive sex ed curricula are significantly more effective in achieving these goals.
And no lawmaker should sponsor or vote for this bill if they haven’t read the following articles that put the lie to claims that abstinence curricula are ineffective:
Abstinence Education Effective in Reducing Teen Sex, Comprehensive Sex Ed Not (Heritage Foundation)
Evidence on the Effectiveness of Abstinence Education: An Update (Heritage Foundation)
The Whole Truth about Comprehensive Sex Education (Heritage Foundation)
The Case for Maintaining Abstinence Education Funding (Heritage Foundation)
“Another Look at the Evidence: Abstinence and Comprehensive Sex Education in America’s Schools” and ‘Abstinence’ or ‘Comprehensive’ Sex Education?” (Institute for Research and Evaluation)
Governor Quinn in the Minority in Rejecting Title V Abstinence Education Funds (Illinois Family Institute)
Abstinence Education Works (Illinois Family Institute)
An Oct. 18, 2011 New York Times article co-written by Princeton University law professor, Robert P. George, exposes another dimension to the problem of mandated comprehensive sex ed curricula. He exposes how such laws usurp parental rights and authority.
Please click HERE to read this article, and then email and call your legislators urging them to oppose 3027.