The recent remarks by Health Minister Tony Abbott concerning promiscuity and abortion have triggered heated reactions from all the usual suspects: the feminists, the sex ed and abortion industries, and the family planning groups.
One of the more often repeated complaints by the critics is that if Abbott were serious about these problems, he’d give a whole lot more priority to, and pump a lot more dollars into, contraception and sex education. The idea seems to be that if we throw more condoms around, and give ever greater numbers of ever younger children more explicit sex education, these problems will largely disappear.
But are these claims true? Do the facts bear this out? Consider first the issue of sex education. A number of studies have found that sex education tends to result in teens who are more sexually active, not less. As just one example, the premier sex education advocate – Planned Parenthood International – has revealed in its own survey that “comprehensive sex education programs significantly increase the percentage of teens becoming sexually active, while limited sex education, and especially those with no sex education classes, discourage kids from becoming sexually active.” The National Director of Education for Planned Parenthood has admitted that this survey “has been very much of an Achilles’ heel for us.”
Common sense bears this out: in the last thirty years we have been inundated with sex education courses in schools, and the media has bombarded us with sex. Yet during this same period of time we have witnessed an unprecedented escalation of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and abortions. Even if the former is not a cause of the latter, surely the former has not prevented the latter.
This has been affirmed just recently in the UK. A new study has found that in schools where pupils have been given free condoms, more sex education, and girls have been invited to have confidential health checks, schoolgirl pregnancies have risen by up to 34%.
In schools where the government’s Teenage Pregnancy Unit (a guide for girls produced by the Family Planning Association) has been active, pregnancy rates have soared. For example, in one target area, Cornwall, rates rose from 306 schoolgirl pregnancies in 2001 to 359 in 2002 – a 17% increase. Torbay in Devon saw a 22% rise from 92 to 113, Solihull in the Midlands 17% (121 to 142), and York 34% (93 to 125).
Clearly, the problem is not one of lack of information. The problem is the eradication of any framework of values in which to make decisions about sex. This is the real issue which the sex educators refuse to address.
And consider the issue of condom use. Those who advocate safe sex (although most people now speak of safer sex) continue to offer up the condom and contraceptives as the panacea to teenage sexuality. But given the high failure rate of condoms, this advice is simply encouraging our young people to play Russian roulette. Seldom does one hear about the virtues of chastity or abstinence. Condommania may appease the guilty consciences of the sexual liberationists, but it is killing our kids.
At a recent World Congress of Sexology, a speaker asked the 800 sexologists present this question: “If you had available the partner of your dreams and knew the person carried HIV, how many of you would have sex depending on a condom for protection?” Not one person raised their hand. After a long delay, one hand was timidly raised in the back of the room. The speaker was irate. She told them, “it was irresponsible to give advice to others that they would not follow themselves.”
It’s odd the way the government advocates safe sex, assuming our kids are simply going to “do it”, when with other unsafe behaviours (smoking, drink driving, etc), the government tells us to just say no. Why the double standard?
Interestingly, a major rethink of sex education is underway in America. As an example, a recent cover story of the left/liberal magazine Mother Jones examined modern teenagers’ concerns about sexuality. Intimacy and permanency in relationships, it seems, are the major longings of these young people. “Unlike the children of the ’60s” said the article, “today’s teens fear ending up old and alone.” Those old fashioned values of marriage and family seem to top the list of teen goals.
And from one other unlikely quarter, this support for morality in sexuality: “I heard one [teenager] say, ‘Sex is just a pleasure meant to be enjoyed.’ Well, that does for rabbits and for dogs, but for human beings I believe that the spiritual beliefs are important. . . . Teenagers should be thinking of sex as something to do with wanting to marry a person with the same ideals, wanting to bring up fine children.” The speaker?: child-care expert Benjamin Spock.
Given the high risks our young people are exposed to by relying on condoms, one can only hope that this rethinking will take place in Australia as well. Sexual suicide needs to be replaced with sexual sanity, and there is no better place for the deconstruction to begin than at the hallowed but shaky halls of the sex education establishment.