Monday, December 29, 2008
So Much For "Abstinence Only"
It's official! A Federal Study has concluded that teenage "virginity pledges" are ineffective. An article by Rob Klein of the Washington Post states that the study has shown that teens who take this pledge are just as likely as those who did not "pledge purity" to have sex prior to matrimony. It also shows that these teens are less likely to use condoms or any other form or birth control or protection against STD's. Maybe, just maybe, this study will take our national heads out of our arses and get us cracking on effective sex education, access to birth control and other programs to help our children protect themselves.
For the Federal Government to give funding to these abstinence programs while letting sex education and accessible birth control/STD protection struggle for support is unrealistic and pandering to the far, religious right, as usual. Taking us back, as a nation, to the bad, old days of punitive, sexist attitudes and actions is not going to help things. It did nothing then, of worth, and will do nothing now.
Over the decades, we Senior Mothers of the EMS saw a lot of progress in this area. Information about birth control became more accessible to single women, safe, legal, medical abortion became available and single parenthood became more socially acceptable. Many parents were even providing their teens with an open invitation to talk about it if they became sexually active and supplied protection for their kids. Yes, it's hard to think about our little Susies and Tommys doing the nasty, but remember how those hormones and emotions ran amok in you when you were that age? With all the sexual messages in the media that our children are exposed to on a daily basis, sex education and protection should be a no-brainer.
If I were a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, I would even think that this abstinence-only program was backed by the adoption industry and social engineers in order to get womb-fresh infants to the "right kind of people" to be raised in a Norman Rockwell, nuclear family. But people in power in our government wouldn't do that, would they?
At least, in the present time frame, we have DNA tests to confirm paternity and laws that will make the sower of wild oats pay for his bread. That is a good thing, if the young woman and her parents take the responsibility for raising the child that Abstinence Only couldn't prevent and the adoption industry doesn't get to her, first. In courting the self-righteous right, our leaders have sold their grandchildren for a mess of pottage, to paraphrase the scriptures. It takes us back to the days of surface virtue and secrets and lies and a fantasy view of life.
To me, this hue and cry for abstinence without education, and the propaganda of the adoption industry is a giant step backwards. The next step would be to regress back to the time when the unmarried, young mother was given no choice at all. At least, for now, anyway, she can choose to keep her baby and even celebrate the new arrival. And, she can also go to the local Department of Public Health and receive birth control and education on how to use it. She can choose not to proceed with the pregnancy and she is not required to explain or apologize to anyone.
Unless we protect these rights, and are realistic about teens, sex and the education needed, we are going to enter into a very nasty replay of the 40's through the early 70's. I cannot see putting my granddaughter and great-granddaughters through that kind of crap. I am writing my congressional representatives and Senator and asking them to support good, solid sex education for all young people and to protect our right to choose. I have also written to our President-Elect and will write to his choice of surgeon general and the cabinet member that heads up the departments having to do with health and human welfare when they are confirmed.
We need to, as well, forge ahead with the demand for a public hearing on the EMS/BSE so that the mistakes of the past will not be the mistakes of today. It is time that we stopped treating our children as eternal infants, especially as they approach adulthood. It is time that the general public learned the truth about the adoption fairy-tale and the helplessness and lack of autonomy of the mothers and their children. It is time for the nation and our government to learn that the "perfect solution" was anything BUT. We can't put more women through this horror of being given no choice in major decisions affecting their own lives.
It is PAST TIME for us, as a nation, to grow up.