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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Dubya's administration hands the Christian right another goodie.

This time, the goodie is a new set of federal funding guidelines for abstinence-only education programs. As Juliana Bunim points out, the guidelines read more like a right-wing anti-sex education tract than a government document:

The guidelines specify that programs receiving funds must define abstinence as "voluntarily choosing not to engage in sexual activity until marriage." Marriage, is also strictly defined as "a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife." Both statments send a very clear message that homosexuals should never engage in sex. Period. Because everyone should be abstinent until marriage and conveniently, the definition of marriage does not include gays.

This magpie went over to the Department of Health and Human Services to have look at the guidelines, and they were even worse than we expected. For example, this is from the section on 'Additional Guidance Regarding Curriculum Development':

  • Abstinence curricula must have a clear definition of sexual abstinence which must be consistent with the following: "Abstinence means voluntarily choosing not to engage in sexual activity until marriage. Sexual activity refers to any type of genital contact or sexual stimulation between two persons including, but not limited to, sexual intercourse."
  • The curriculum must have a clear message regarding the importance of student abstinence from sexual activity until marriage and must emphasize that the best life outcomes are more likely obtained if an individual abstains until marriage.
  • The term "resources" must refer to all materials to be used in the submitted curriculum.
  • Throughout the entire curriculum, the term "marriage" must be defined as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." (Consistent with Federal law)
  • The curriculum must teach the psychological and physical benefits of sexual abstinence-until-marriage for youth.
  • The curriculum must teach the importance of marriage, commitment, responsible parenthood, especially fatherhood, and the potential harm of out-of-wedlock childbearing to all racial, socioeconomic, geographic, age, gender and ethnic groups.
  • Information on contraceptives, if included, must be age-appropriate and presented only as it supports the abstinence message being presented. Curriculum must not promote or endorse, distribute or demonstrate the use of contraception or instruct students in contraceptive usage. [Empahsis mine]

The fact that this religious claptrap couched in pseudoscientific language is part of the guidelines used for dispensing federal education funding is made even more obnoxious by the numerous studies showing that abstinence-only education doesn't work. In fact, it is such an inadequate way of preparing students to deal with sexual activity that young people who drop out of abstinence-only programs generally have a higher pregnancy rate than those who had other forms of sex education.

That, of course, doesn't bother Dubya's administration or the fundamentalist Christian groups behind abstinence-only education. After all, any kid who has sex should have to face the punishment of pregnancy, STDs, or HIV. It's what they deserve, isn't it?

Planned Parenthood has more on the new guidelines here.

Via MoJo Blog.

| | Posted by Magpie at 2:03 PM | Get permalink




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