New Congressional Report Recommends Abstinence Education
New Congressional Report Recommends Abstinence Education
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   07.10.12

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce just released its report on sex education. Liberal proponents of comprehensive sex ed who profit from promoting early sexualization of children, premarital sex, sex severed from morality, promiscuity as entertainment, and deviant sexuality must be apoplectic because the report affirms that abstinence education serves the welfare of children and adolescents better than does comprehensive sex ed.

Here are some highlights from this report, which concludes that abstinence education, referred to as Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA), is “the best public health strategy to prevent unintended teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections”:

Sexual Risk Avoidance (abstinence education):

  • Emphasizes risk avoidance as opposed to risk reduction
  • Provides clear directives and guidance about sexual behavior
  • Assumes teens can, do, and will make choices that enable them to avoid risky behaviors
  • Sets realistic and age-appropriate expectations for teens and then shows them how to avoid  risky behaviors
  • Better responds to research on adolescent brain development and its effect on decision-making, particularly in regard to risky behavior
  • Better reflects current research that shows that teens are helped in the process of learning how to negotiate risky behavior by having teachers and other authority figures reinforce the guidance and limits provided by parents
  • Better mirrors programs that have proved effective in reducing teen car accidents, underage drinking, and tobacco use

Comprehensive Sex Ed (CSE):

  • Emphasizes risk reduction as opposed to risk avoidance
  • Assumes teen cannot and/or will not choose abstinence despite research suggesting they can and do
  • Because of assumptions about the inevitability of teen sexual activity, CSE promulgates messages that undermine clear, unequivocal abstinence messages
  • CSE assumes that if teens are provided “accurate” medical information and provided interpersonal skill training, they will be “able to assess the risk involved with sexual activity and disease prevention,” even though developmental research has proved that adult guidance is necessary for teens to avoid risky behavior

Effect of Funding Imbalance

The report states that despite much research proving that abstinence-centered education is effective, CSE is the dominant form of sexuality education in the U.S., and the reason for its predominance is federal funding. Even more troubling, the report states that Americans believe that CSE is more effective because of its prevalence. *

Here is what the well-respected Heritage Foundation has to say about the funding imbalance:

[T]he U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that, in the fiscal year 2008, for every dollar the department spent on abstinence education, it spent $4 on comprehensive sex education and family planning services targeting teens. In FY2008, the department spent $176.5 million on abstinence education. By contrast, pregnancy and STD prevention programs and family planning services for teens received $609.3 million.

Sadly, despite the social science evidence, the Obama administration and Congress have eliminated all federal spending on abstinence education and, instead, have created additional funding for comprehensive sex education.

To reiterate, the federal government provides vastly more resources to the type of sex ed that is least effective (and most morally problematic), which increases the prevalence and visibility of comprehensive sex ed. This prevalence and visibility in turn persuade Americans that comprehensive sex ed must be the most effective form of sex ed.

Here’s another nice mess liberals have gotten us into.

Comprehensive Sex Ed Profiteers

Add to the miasmic stew all the organizations with voracious appetites for money, power, and sex and we’ve got a powerful lobby working to keep American schools moving in the wrong direction. Organizations like SIECUS; Planned Parenthood; GLSEN; Illinois Safe Schools Alliance; Go Ask Alice!; and Advocates for Youth lust for the hearts, minds, and bodies of our nation’s children. Neither common sense, nor logic, nor research can stop “progressives” from gobbling up our tax money and exploiting our schools to pursue their libertine goals. And though they claim to want to reduce teen pregnancy, their real goal is guilt-free, consequence-free sexual activity in all its “diverse” forms.

Values of the “Values-Neutral” Crowd

The report states the obvious: programs that are effective, such as those to curb teen-drinking, drug use, reckless driving, and smoking, offer clear, unequivocal directives, whereas comprehensive sex ed provides mixed messages that undermine the effort to curb teen sexual activity. Comprehensive sex ed proponents claim that though they really want to reduce teen sexual activity, they are simply being pragmatic realists when they seek to provide to teens every bit of deviant sexuality information known to man. They argue that no amount or kind of moral direction will prevent teens from having sex, so adults must provide them with information about every aspect of sexual activity that any person may think about or engage in. And they think schools should provide this “values-neutral education.”

The very notion that sex or the teaching about sex can or should be value-neutral is a value judgment. Sex is an inherently moral activity. Treating sex as if it can be severed from morality is a deceit.

The truth is, however, that comprehensive sex “educators” are not begrudging participants in teaching about something they wish teens weren’t doing. They’re eager facilitators of children and teen sexual exploration.

What gets lost in sex ed discussions is that for many parents the goal is not merely to reduce unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, but to prevent adolescent sexual activity. That is not the goal of comprehensive sex ed proponents.

Separation of Church and State

In tracing the history of the federal government’s involvement in sex education, the report discusses the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA), which under President Reagan provided grants to non-profit organizations and states for abstinence education. According to the new congressional report, “Opponents of AFLA suggested the approach was nothing more than religion masquerading as public health policy.” This is a cunning way to approach the debate. Liberals take any cultural issue to which religious values may be pertinent, manipulate rhetoric to turn those religiously derived values into religion per se, and then proclaim that permitting those perspectives to bear on public policy would violate the separation of church and state. And Christians buy it.

The problem is that for Christians, the truths revealed in the Bible will shape all of life, including sexuality.

Curiously, liberals don’t express similar umbrage when liberals bring their religiously derived values to public policy decisions. For example, do liberals take umbrage when those who attend homosexuality-affirming churches work for the legalization of so-called “same-sex marriage”? Did liberals object when Martin Luther King Jr. in fighting for the civil rights of blacks, proclaimed, “a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God,”? Did liberals object when the Berrigan brothers, both priests, fought tenaciously against the Vietnam war?

Christians need to gain a proper understanding of the relationship between religion and the state so that they will not be duped by the sophistry or ignorance of “progressives.”

Illinois’ Comprehensive Sex Ed Bill

This new report from the Energy and Commerce Committee provides yet more justification for whacking down HB 3027, the comprehensive sex bill that keeps popping up in Springfield like an annoying mole in an arcade game. You can read more about the bill here and here .

*There are numerous studies that point to the efficacy of abstinence-centered education, which the mainstream press prefers not to discuss. Moreover, it’s difficult to find sound research proving that comprehensive is more effective than abstinence-centered sex ed. The Heritage Foundation and the National Abstinence Education Association are very helpful resources for information on research concerning sex ed.

Take ACTION:  Please click HERE to send an email or a fax to your state representative about this anti-family bill. The Illinois House could vote on this bill at any time during the Veto Session!  Ask him/her to vote “NO” on HB 3027.

Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High...
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