Thursday, November 25, 2004

Bush Promotes Abstinence, Not Condoms

Parent's which do you prefer, that your teenagers be told by their teachers not to have sex, or that they be told not to have sex, but if they do, how to use a condom?

Pushing his religious beliefs on America's youth, George W. Bush is pushing for funding that would continue a 1996 program to teach abstinence to teens, rather than birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention. His, and other's argument is that the only 100% certain way to prevent pregnancy and STD's is not to have sex at all.

One counter argument is that the only 100% certain way to prevent car accidents is to quit driving. Yet the government funds seat-belt laws and education.

In a perfect world, everyone would wait until they got married before having sex. Oh, wait - not everyone in this nation has the right to get married. Gays have been losing that battle. In Bush's perfect world, there wouldn't be any gays either. That's a topic for another day.

So far, the only studies available show no reliable evidence that teaching abstinence has made any difference in teen sexuality since the abstinence programs began. Of course, supporters of the idea say they need longer studies. They're waiting for a study scheduled to be complete in 2006.

While I admit, abstinence is a good idea, let's be honest. How many people do things because it's a good idea?

Teen pregnancy is down, but teens continue to make up about half of the new cases of sexually transmitted diseases each year.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for abstinence before marriage. I think its a good thing. I also understand the reality. Just because you tell someone not to do something doesn't mean they won't. Just as we tell drug addicts to use clean needles, we should tell teens that if they refuse to be abstinent, they should use a condom. In George's world, though, it's his way or no way. You either abstain from sex or suffer the consequences. Telling teens to use a condom is immoral.

While condoms aren't perfect, they are one of the best methods we have to prevent AIDS and other STDs. I'd rather my kid watch a teacher put a condom on a banana than watch my kid waste away with AIDS. I can teach abstinence at home, where it should be taught in the first place. Guess I'll be teaching them how to use condoms too. Imagine a college aged person, legally an adult, who's never been taught how to use a condom or prevent STDs or pregnancy.

And if the abstinence classes fail? We end up with more and more unwanted teen pregnancies and abortion rates rise. Use condoms, prevent more abortions. George doesn't see the connection.

Too bad his dad didn't use a condom.