Thursday, August 18, 2005

Abstinence-Plus Education


After finding that op-ed piece in the Inquirer on Abstinence Only Education, and reading Aspazia's comments on it, I began reflecting on my own sex-education. After doing some research I found that my middle and high schools classified themselves as falling under "Abstinence-Plus" education ("promoting abstinence as the best method while merely mentioning the others"). According to the salon.com article Teach Your Children Well, this type of education accounts for 51% of all middle and high school sex education programs (35% are abstinence only, and 14% are comprehensive). However, upon reading the definition I'm a little confused. Are students who are educated in "Abstinence-plus" programs truly educated regarding other forms of birth control albeit that abstinence is emphasized as the best choice (as the definition implies)? Or are other forms of birth control only "mentioned" in terms of their ineffectiveness? My gut tells me it's the later, and I know it sounds like a case of semantics, but the claim that 51% of students are receiving this type of sex education just makes me wonder if it's truly the "middle ground" that it is advertised as.
I copied the following citations from www.nonewmoney.org that are taken from the materials given to students in "Abstinence only until marriage" programs.... a lot of these citations "mention" other birth control options..... is this the "plus" in abstinence-plus?


"The first player spins the cylinder, points the gun to his/her head, and pulls the trigger. He/she has only one in six chances of being killed. But if one continues to perform this act, the chamber with the bullet will ultimately fall into position under the hammer, and the game ends as one of the players dies. Relying on condoms is like playing Russian roulette." Me, My World, My Future, revised HIV material, p. 258.

"Because they generally become aroused less easily, females are in a good position to help young men learn balance in relationships by keeping intimacy in perspective." Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p.6.

"Is it fair to make the baby die because of a bad decision his or her parents made?" Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p.25.

"Conception, also known as fertilization, occurs when one sperm unites with one egg in the upper third of the fallopian tube. This is when life begins...even though he or she was only the size and appearance of a pencil dot, the baby was a separate, genetically unique individual" FACTS, Middle School, Teacher's Guide, p. 23.

"THERE IS NO WAY TO HAVE PREMARITAL SEX WITHOUT HURTING SOMEONE." Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p.35

"A specific blood test for Chlamydia can detect the presence of the disease." Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p. 44. (Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of the cervix or penis. It cannot be detected through a blood test.)

"At the least, the chances of getting pregnant with a condom are 1 out of 6." Me, My World, My Future, revised HIV material, p. 257. (When used consistently and correctly condoms are 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and up to 99 percent effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and other STDs.)

"A young man's natural desire for sex is already strong due to testosterone...females are becoming culturally conditioned to fantasize about sex as well." Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p. 6.

"A woman is stimulated more by touch and romantic words. She is far more attracted by a man's personality while a man is stimulated by sight. A man is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is physically attracted." WAIT Training, Workshop Manual, p. 40.
"Watch what you wear, if you don't aim to please, don't aim to tease." Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p. 82.

One of the best ways to avoid AIDS is to "avoid homosexual behavior." Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p. 25.

"The liberation movement has produced some aggressive girls today, and one of the tough challenges for guys who say no will be the questioning of their manliness" Sex Respect, Student Workbook, p. 85.

"There is no such thing as 'safe' or 'safer' premarital sex." FACTS, Middle School, Teacher's Guide, p. 9.

"For condoms to be used properly, over 10 specific steps must be followed every time. This tends to minimize the romance and spontaneity of the sex act." Choosing the Best, Student Manual, p. 25.

"What if a girl came to school in a crop top, just barely covering her bra, and shorts starting three inches below her naval? What 'game' would she be playing?" WAIT Training, Workshop Manual, p. 86.