Abstinence Education In Budget Is Abstinence-Only

This “Abstinence Education” is back by the Massachusetts Family Institute. The program is called Healthy Futures and it is an abstinence-only program. 

If you click through the links at the bottom of their webpage, you will find a PDF with details regarding what constitutes an “Abstinence Program” by federal standards you get this:  the bullet items are how Healthy Futures complies with the federal guidelines:

Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, P.L. 104?193

For the purposes of this section, the term ?abstinence education? means an educational or

motivational program which:

A: has as its exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to

be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;

HF?s mission is to prepare teens for great relationships:

? to empower teens to fully enjoy their lives, respect themselves and their

bodies, and further their dreams;

? to provide relationship education to help teens have healthy, fulfilling

relationships; and

? to equip teens with the skills necessary to avoid the social, psychological and

health consequences of early sexual activity.

B: teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected

standard for all school-age children

Healthy Futures? incorporation of this message (deemed compliant by ACF)

involves teaching that:

? being abstinent until one is in a faithful, lifelong relationship is the healthiest


? abstinence is a choice that can be made despite previous sexual involvement;


? the choice to be abstinent is a mark of character and respect for self and


C: teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid outof

wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health


HF describes abstinence as the only certain way to avoid STDs and teen


D: teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of

marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity;

Healthy Futures? incorporation of this message (deemed compliant by ACF)

involves teaching that:

? sex involves deep emotions and feelings;

? the choice to have sex now can make it more challenging for students to

achieve their goals, particularly related to marriage and having a family;

? healthy, stable marriages are built on and protected by such characteristics as

commitment and faithfulness; and

? sex can be beautiful and fulfilling when practiced within the intimacy, love,

and commitment of a faithful, lifelong relationship like marriage.

E: teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have

harmful psychological and physical effects;

Healthy Futures? incorporation of this message (deemed compliant by ACF)


? teaching about the emotional pain that can result from a sexual relationship


? educators telling stories from their own lives describing the freedom they have

experienced from being abstinent, and, if it applies, the emotional and

psychological pain of previous sexual choices; and

? teaching that sexually active teens are more likely to engage in other risk

behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.

F: teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful

consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society;

Healthy Futures? incorporation of this message (deemed compliant by ACF)


? students discussing how a teen having a baby could affect that child or the

child?s parents either emotionally or circumstantially;

? discussing that many of the challenges facing teen parents and their children

are not likely to be present if the mother were older and in a faithful, lifelong

relationship; and

? teaching that teens who father children may face substantial child support

payments for 18 years and other legal obligations.

G: teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug

use increase vulnerability to sexual advances, and

Healthy Futures incorporates this message by:

? helping students identify life goals and having them discuss how they can

make choices now to help them achieve those goals;

? discussing self-control and willpower as tools to help students make healthy

relationship choices and put off sex even if strong sexual desire is present;

? playing a game with students in which they brainstorm fun, healthy activities

to do on a date and non-physical ways to show affection;

? having students work through age-appropriate scenarios to discuss ways to

respond to specific situations of sexual pressure;

? teaching the importance of setting physical limits in a relationship, and how to

set limits that will allow students to remain abstinent; and

? teaching that alcohol and drug use impairs judgment, which can impact sexual

choices and make individuals more vulnerable to sexual advances and urges.

H: teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual


ACF?s compliance standards state that this point is included in the others.

Make a call, people. 

Although these programs are now allowed to be used alongside stand-alone comprehensive health education programs, there is no reason the Commonwealth should provide a separate program that is abstinence-only in design. 

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80 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Evaluation

    Has Healthy-Futures been evaluated as effective or ineffective?

    • Heathy Futures is a

      stand-alone abstinence-only program.

      Abstinence-only programs have been proven ineffective over and over and over, a fact that is widely known. 

      • could you substantiate that for the rest of us?

        I love it when people say "a fact that is widely known" and don't back it up.  If I did that you'd have a field day with me.

        • Widely known

          Everyone knows that abstinence-plus is much, much more effective.  Here's some studies...

        • Facts from this administration

          Burying Release of Abstinence Only Report on Friday the 13th Seems Fitting

          The news for the Bush Adminstration's abstinence-only policies just seems to be getting worse, some might liken it to a swiftly sinking boat or ship.

          So a burial at sea is appropriate, and by releasing the latest federal report on abstinence-only, (PDF) Impacts for Title V. Section 510, Abstinence Education Programs: Final Report, from Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. late on a Friday, that is exactly what the Bushies are doing.

          ?After 10 years and $1.5 billion in public funds these failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs will go down as an ideological boondoggle of historic proportions,? said James Wagoner, President of Advocates for Youth.

          ?The tragedy is not simply the waste of taxpayer dollars, it is the damage done to the young people who have been on the receiving end of distorted, inaccurate information about condoms and birth control. We have been promoting ignorance in the era of AIDS, and that?s not just bad public health policy, its bad ethics?.

          ?This report should serve as the final verdict on the failure of the abstinence-only industry in this country,? said William Smith, vice president for public policy of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS). ?It shows, once again, that these programs fail miserably in actually helping young people behave more responsibly when it comes to their sexuality,? Smith continued.

          In 1996, the federal government attached a provision to the welfare reform law establishing a federal program for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. This program, Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, dedicated $50 million per year to be distributed among states that choose to participate. States accepting the funds are required to match every four federal dollars with three state-raised dollars (for a total of $87.5 million annually, and $787.5 million for the eight years from fiscal year 1998 through 2006). Programs that receive the Title V funding are prohibited from discussing methods of contraception, including condoms, except in the context of failure rates.

          On a call yesterday organized by the Abstinence Clearinghouse, abstinence-only proponents were clearly rocked by the potentially ruinous news in the report. High profile abstinence-only advocate, Robert Rector, led the preemptive damage-control planning. He outlined several strategies the abstinence-only movement could use to rationalize the findings in the report saying, ?The other spin I think is very important is not [program] effectiveness, but rather the values that are being taught,? Rector said. Whether or not these programs work is a ?bogus issue,? Rector continued.

          Noting that the study was posted on a Government web-site with no press release or advisory, Wagoner said: ?The ?stealth release? of this study on an obscure government website on a Friday afternoon is clearly meant to bury its contents. But policy makers must now know that funds for these programs must now be eliminated?.

          Citing the fact that the Institute of Medicine, the nation?s leading health authority, had called for the elimination of these programs back in 2000, Wagoner said: ?Congress must now move to de-fund these programs. Anything short of eliminating these programs would be a dereliction of its duty to promote public health and protect young people in the era of AIDS?.

          ... even in the face of the GOP own admission that this is nothing but another multi million dollar boondoggle... the Democrats have not only agreed to continue this bogus program they have actually on their own decided to increase the budget by several more millions of dollars... so go figure.

          • Beyond Shame

            Beyond Shame: Democrats Sell Out Youth

            Today, the House Democrats will waltz into the mark-up of the Labor HHS Subcommittee and proudly present a bill that puts their stamp of approval on domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage programs?an ideological boondoggle that threatens the health and well-being of America's youth.

            The most appalling aspect of this sell-out is that that the Democrats will not only fully fund the worst of the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs?they'll give them a $27 million increase?the first in three years!

            Shame on Congressman David Obey for brokering this "deal;" shame on Congresswoman Nita Lowey for agreeing to it; and shame on those other Democrats on the Appropriations Committee who have already promised not to offer any amendment that would cut funding for abstinence-only programs and thus "upset" the deal.

            In one inglorious motion, the Democrats have sold the health and well-being of young people down the proverbial drain, delivered a public slap in the face to evidence-based public health, and made a mockery of their "prevention first" message.

            Consider this irony. The first domestic policy the Democrats will endorse on the prevention front will be to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for young people up to the age of 29! Good work, gang. You make me proud to be a Democrat?NOT!

            And consider this second irony. The Democrats will now become one of the largest funders of an ultra-conservative network that is clearly hostile to its policies and candidates (See an in-depth article in The Nation.)

            The funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs represents the worst of cynical, "inside-the-beltway" deal-making. Whose interests were protected at the expense of young people's health and lives? Whose politics were advanced by including this "sweetener" for conservatives in an appropriations bill threatened with a Presidential veto? Inquiring minds would like to know.

            Now is the time for advocates to hold these Democrats accountable. It would be the height of hypocrisy to go mute when this kind of damage is done to young people because "our friends" are in power.

            We cannot afford to play the "never mind" game.

            Never mind the Society of Adolescent Medicine report that stated abstinence-only programs "threaten fundamental human rights to health, information and life"; never mind the congressionally-mandated Mathematica study released in April showing that abstinence-only programs simply do not work; never mind the research showing that young people who take "virginity pledges" are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.

  2. and once the abstainers get married

    how will they know how to 1) properly use birth control? 2) have sex safely and enjoyably? 3) recognize the signs of STDs in themselves or their spouse?

    Abstinence is great, but must only be taught as part of a comprehensive sex ed program that insures that young people know all about safe sex and family planning for when they do start to have sex.  Usually, this is some time between finishing the abstinence program and getting married.  For gay people outside of MA or who may end up living outside of MA, marriage is never an option.  I guess they should just go fuck themselves?  Oh wait, no, masterbation isn't even part of the curriculum.

    • Laurel..

      ...you know as well as I do...

      and once the abstainers get married

      ...they will get divorced.  That's one reason why the divorce rate in the fundy South is so much higher than Massachusetts.

      I seriously am not joking.

      • Hate to ask for facts

        But, how do you guys know any of this stuff ?  I've looked and can find no longetudinal studies that show abstinence or abstinence plus to be much more effective than nothing.

        • maybe you can find

          what you're looking for here. (warning, large pdf)

          • Interesting

            Quoting from the link:

            In the face of overwhelming evidence against the continued use of abstinence-only programs to teach our nation?s youth, supporters of abstinence-only programs have maintained their insistence on further funding for these programs with arguments both myopic and cryptic, if not completely disingenuous.

            The sentence is not substantiated with any footnote or data.

            Then later in the publication:

            There has been little scientific evaluation of any abstinence-only program.

            What's the problem with allowing the Federal funding, then, let the parents take their pick:  a) abstinence only or b) abstinence plus?

            • so gary,

              how has abstinence worked for you?  as the curriculum emphasizes, it's never too late!

              • Pointless ad hominen

                When facts fail you.

                • whatever you say, but

                  i don't need studies to tell me that it's stupid to not prepare kids for safe and healthy sex, whether they start having it today or after marriage.  do you need a study to know not to walk in front of a stampeding herd of bison?  sometimes, gary, common sense is all it takes.  when you go looking for studies, well, good for you. but it does indicate a despiration on your part to find a way to ignore or deny what is common knowledge and common sense.  i could be wrong about that of course, but that is how it looks.

                  so i guess it didn't work for you then?  and by the way, it was a question, not an attack.  here, i'll prove it- i'll answer it myself:  abstaining from heterosex has worked beautifully for me.  not one STD or unwanted pregnancy.  please see exchange with lightiris below for details.

                  • If it's such common sense

                    Why is the CDC bothering to study it?

                    In a Short term and long term results of 11 programs, why are there mixed results?, with some studies contrasting abstinence to abstinence only.

                    Why is it that despite the common sense, no one can point to any expert, or peer reviewed study that shows that abstinence-plus is any better than abstinence only.

                    What wrong with taking the federal funds then offering a) abstinence only or b) abstinence plus, then letting the parent decide, rather than allowing DOE or Planned Parenthood decide for them?  Answer that question for me.

                    • i'll answer your question

                      after you answer mine.  deal?

                    • Ok

                      The answer is quite well, IMHO.

                      My generation, at least in the South, probably received a similar eduation:  sex education was taught as part of health class.  Boys separated from girls.  Films show i) the biology and anatomy of sex; ii) VD (we'd never yet heard of STDs and they wouldn't yet kill you); and iii) fetus devlopmenet and birth.  Birth control, as I recollect, wasn't part of the education.

                      Regardlesss, I managed to graduate, get through college and such without any unwanted kids or STDs. So, in answer to your question, abstinence eduation worked out pretty well.

                      Now, to repeat my question:  It appears there is no definitive studya that shows better outcomes from abstinence versus abstinence-plus students.  If there was, I sure you or someone would have pointed out that 'widely known' information.  I'm not surprised. 

                      So, in the dim light of uncertainty, why shouldn't the Governor invite Federal funding for abstinence-only along side the abstinence-plus, then simply let the parent choose.

                      I'm no advocate for either.  I'm an advocate for parent involvement and individual choice.

                    • excellent news!

                      that you got a decent, somewhat well-rounded sex education.  why don't you want other kids to learn at least as much as you did?  what you got was decidedly much more than abstinence-only.  (although, it is a shame they led you to believe that the STDs available then weren't life threatening.  they were/are.  but i take it you were in school during the Silver Bullet years, when everything was thought curable by the miraculous penicillin.)

                      the longitudinal studies?  i honestly don't know if there are any.  as i said above, a passing familiarity with human nature makes it clear to all who wish to see that abstinence-only aint so great for preparing young people, as you were, for a healthy future before marriage should they fall off the wagon, and after marriage then they are "allowed" to have sex guilt-free.

                      where are the longitudinal studies proving that ab-only IS effective?

                      as for why not take the money and run, it is my understanding that the federal money ties the hands of the state in teaching real sex ed.  please correct me if i am wrong.  regardless, having an ab-only curriculum floating around sets the stage for it actually being used in that way.  that is NOT worth 700K or any amount of money.  our kids health and education are priceless.

                    • Thanks for answer

                      But, I think you're missing my point.

                      where are the longitudinal studies proving that ab-only IS effective?

                      The studies aren't there, or they're in process.  Neither ab only or ab plus has been shown more or less effective.

                      Again, given the dim light of evidence, why not opt for both and let the parents choose?  That's my question.

                      FYI, a state can offer both.  The money received must be used under the Federal grant for abstinence only ciriculum.

                    • If ab only...

                      ... then those 700k could only be spent on ab only, while other funding could be spent on comprehensive sex ed.

                      Also, how did you manage to lose this argument?

                    • LOL

                      I guess you don't understand what the "ONLY" part in ab-ONLY means.  It ceases to be ONLY when you add in other topics to create comprehensive sex ed.

            • Here's some reading material.

              Planned Parenthood has a very nice report on Abstinence Only Programs on its website. The report cites references, including websites when available. The report is also available as a PDF file.

              This should answer some of your questions.

              • Any data from independent third parties

                If I offered MFI sponsored data you'd laugh at it.  Do you have any data from non planned parenthood sources?

                • No need to bother

                  Just read the linked pdf.  The most damning thing that Planned Parenthood can find in opposition to abstinence only with respect to outcome is this:

                  "Abstinence-only sexuality programs don't work.  There is little evidence that teens who participate in abstinence-only programs abstain from intercourse longer than others."

                  The programs are simply too young to know long term effectiveness of one ciriculum versus the other.  A judgement to abandon one, or the other, at this point is irresponsible, grandstanding and politically pandering to one special interest group or the other.

                • I knew some Pavlov's dog would start barking at the Planned Parenthood bell.

                  If you took a few minutes to check out their site and took your snark-vision glasses off, you'd see that Planned Parenthood's mission is not a single-minded attack on those who are against a woman's right to choose.

                  Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual's right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life, strong family relationships, and population stability.

                  Planned Parenthood is a family planning resource for people of all ages, ethnicities and economic backgrounds. They provide contraception and accompanying health care, education, and information primarily. If you look at their statistics, which you probably won't since you probably don't believe anything anyone tells you unless they agree with your opinions, you'd see that only 3 percent of their health services are abortion services.

                  Their health services include: family planning and birth control information and services, pregnancy testing, gynecological care, Pap tests, breast exams, emergency contraception, HIV testing and information, medically accurate sexuality education, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, infertility screening, voluntary sterilization for women and men, reproductive medical exams for men, safer sex education and information, midlife services, abortion services or abortion referrals, prenatal care, adoption referrals, primary care, and referrals for specialized care.

                  • perhaps they also do those things

                    • $quot;Perhaps they also do those things.$quot; That's just incredibly insulting.

                      What do you know about Planned Parenthood, really? Have you been to any of their clinics or offices? Have you read any of their material? Have you talked to schools or organizations worldwide who partner with them to keep men, women, and children healthy and in charge of their own reproductive choices?

                      Have you talked to anyone who works there or has used their services--or has volunteered to shield people who want to use their services from the protestors who are always there?

                      I know they do exactly what they say. I know people who work there, people who have used their services, people who have been involved in their education  programming, and have been to their office in Boston.

                      People who work there have to run the damn gauntlet of anti-choice vigilantes EVERY DAY just to go to work. They have to deal with narrow-minded people who deliberately refuse to learn about their mission.

                      Jeez Louise. Since when did "family planning" come to equal abortion? Do you think families should not be able to choose when they would like to have children? Isn't it better for children to be born into a family that has planned--emotionally, financially, medically--for the optimal time for birth?

                      I really don't understand this mindset.

                    • I know enough about Planned Parenthood.

                      I admire their staff's dedication to their mission in the face of enormous opposition, and, as demonstrated locally, danger to their personal safety.

                      But I don't pretend that they are a neutral on a "culture war" issue.  They are, rather, a combatant in the culture war.

                    • In other words,

                      I really know nothing about PP except what I intuitively infer when filtered through my "culture war" lens.  If it has something to do with sex, then it's a "culture war" issue, and not a medical issue. 

                      Translation:  female genitalia and reproduction are cultural issues open for debate by any tom, dick, and harry who has an opinion.  Women aren't entitled to actually have some fucking privacy when it comes to personal decisions regarding their reproduction and the actual diseases and disorders and issues women experience. 


                    • Yes.

                      Sex education is a battleground in the neverending culture wars.  Two minutes after you posted this, you complained that the abstinence only crowd are "family values" conservatives.  In this thread, we have competing statistics from "an ultra-conservative network" and from Planned Parenthood fighting the good fight.

                      This is yet another culture war issue.  I'm astonished that you find this to be a controversial assertion.

                      I'm sure they provide good, direct information to individual patients who are making "family planning" decisions, regardless of whether the individual plans to or not to have a family.  But this isn't counseling a patient, it is commenting on public policy.

                      I don't even necessarily disagree with PP on this one, I just disagree with the notion that they are somehow a non-biased neutral actor in an issue like this.  They chose to become a political actor on reproductive issues, and can't somehow pretend they're not when it suits them.

                      Gary raised a simple question above:  why not accept the money and let people choose for themselves?  The answer:  NO!  We know it doesn't work because that is what we believe to be true.  Please see the attached "study" by people who also believe what we believe to be true.

                      I'll not bother responding to whatever it is you're trying to convey in the last paragraph.

                    • I see your point, but (ain't there always a $quot;but$quot;) . . .

                      I wouldn't call it a "culture war"--that's reserved for nice, safe fights about classical music v. rock 'n' roll (those long-haired hippies!).

                      This is a war on on our First Amendment rights:

                      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                      Which is actually ironic, since the anti-choice people are using their First Amendment rights to try to curtail the First Amendment rights of others.

                      OK, so assuming you agree to the name change of the fight, I'm curious about this statement:

                      But this isn't counseling a patient, it is commenting on public policy.

                      It's not really "commenting" on public policy as much as following public policy. I'd say their mission comes in general from the Preamble of the Constitution--the "establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility . . . promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" part, to specific Massachusetts General Laws regarding the establishment of a department of public welfare and its duties, among them Comprehensive family planning services; program establishment. Planned Parenthood is listed within the Office of Health and Human Services Directory of Family Planning Agencies. The EOHHS definition of a "family planning agency" is:

                      Family Planning sites are located in a variety of settings such as community health centers, hospitals, and community based service organizations. 14 agencies have over 90 sites located throughout the state. These agencies also provide education and outreach to communities within their region and can respond to specific requests from members of the community for workshops, materials or training.

                      So Planned Parenthood is completely operating under the law. And, as a matter of fact, lists "Continuous Abstinence" as the first method in its section on Birth Control, Behavioral Methods.

                      So PP is as much a "non-biased neutral actor in an issue like this" as is the Massachusetts government. They are non-biased because they educate on all the options, under the law.

                      What have we learned from this: (1) Planned Parenthood operates in accordance with the law and is therefore not "commenting" on it; (2) PP lists abstinence as an important birth control method; (3) PP is not at war with anyone--they are under siege by those who would deprive women, men, boys, and girls of the information necessary to practice safe sex, birth control, disease prevention, and family planning. (4) It takes a little time and energy to research blog comments.

                    • See response below, away from the damn right margin

                      Good idea to do this, raj.

                    • I'd love to, but I can't find it.

                      Am feeling terribly squished. Can you link to the comment you're referring to? Thanks!

                    • Good idea.

                      Here it is

        • Some of actually read...

          But, how do you guys know any of this stuff ?

          ...you know, things like words.

          One of the things that you might want to consider is why babbler politicians in the Babble Belt are pushing for covenant marriage which, of course, has gone nowhere.

        • Hate to look for facts

          I know, Gary, it's so hard!

          I mean, you have to open a browser window, go to Google, type in "divorce rate states" and then click search!  Whew!

          Here's a start.

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • What are you talking about?

            • Gary, that was a reply to your post above...

              ...where you asked the question,

              how do you guys know any of this stuff?

              Throughout this thread, you've mindlessly repeated the same thought - that there are no studies showing that ab-only doesn't work.  Wrong!  There are studies, plenty of them - go to google and do a search for them.

              • John

                I've googled the studies; I've read the studies. 

                Detractors have said: "It's widely known" or "There are studies, plenty of them."

                Amazing though that although I've 'mindlessly' pointed out what is so far, an irrefuted point, you and others simply attack me and not this:

                No study that yet exists contrasts or compares abstinence only to abstinence plus to find one method superior or inferior to the other, although some studies are in process.

                Answer this:  why, if you accept that premise, would you reject one ciriculum, or the other.  Is parent choice dead on this point in Massachusetts? 

                I'm no ideologue on this point.  I don't care. This is a logical exercise for me.  You however....

                • No study that yet exists??

                  Then why was I able to find this one in 10 seconds on Google?


                  Two groups of kids, tracked through the years - one group had abs-only instruction, while the other group recieved what you would call abs-plus.  The results for abs-only?

                  "There's not a lot of good news here for people who pin their hopes on abstinence-only education," said Sarah Brown, executive director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a privately funded organization that monitors sex education programs. "This is the first study with a solid, experimental design, the first with adequate numbers and long-term follow-up, the first to measure behavior and not just intent. On every measure, the effectiveness of the programs was flat."

                  The results speak for themselvesm don't they?  Now, instead of telling us that no such study yet exists, why don't you go and do some research with your eyes open and get back to us on this "logical exercise" of yours once you have a few facts, ok?

      • No kidding.

        "raj," she said, eyes averted, her toe tracing crescents in the dusty sand, "will you do the ring thing with me?  I'll wear the Miss Faith ring,

        Perfect for the lady who is focusing on purity and holiness. This purity ring clearly represents love and innocence. In the ancient world, the number 5 meant health and well being. Biblically, the number 5 represents grace and heavenly favor. You are certainly favored by God! HE has called you to live a life separated from sin. Holy and pure! Hold tight to your faith! Wait! The 2 white stones symbolize innocence, purity, and virginity. The holy trinity is represented in the total of 3 pink stones. Pink symbolizes romance, love, and friendship. Feel God?s sense of power in your life. God is your friend. HE loves you. He is always with you.

        if you'll "coincide" and wear the Crown of Thorns ring.  It's very manly."

        Patterned to represent purity and your stand to wait. Symbolic of the phenomena of constructive interference where 2 waves coinciding with each other join together to become 1 wave. It?s an encounter that ultimately increases the strength of the 2 separate waves, making them stronger together. May this purity ring serve as a reminder that right now you are in step with your ?true? love. Even if you don?t know who she is yet. You are both living separate, but are in step. Your future unity will together bring power and strength to your relationship. Hold fast to your purity! Stay in step! Coincide! 

        "What?  You're not a virgin?  You're not straight?  You're married or something--to a guy??" 

        Heh heh heh.

        Hey, Laurel, let's give these folks some angina, make them all verklempt.  Let's you and I do the ring thing.  C'mon, let's write these people and tell them that a same-sex couple is sporting the "Miss Faith" rings until the date of their same-sex marriage in Massachusetts!  lol  ;)

        • O dearest lightiris!

          with this ring, i do from thee abstain!  hahaha!

          shall we tell them how we'll deploy the rings after vows are spoken? ;)

          • LOL!

            I think we should explain that after the vows we each plan to wear them as nipple rings on the left breast--closest to the heart, you know. 

        • ROTFL...

          ...BTW, I do the German "verklemmt"  It means constipated (past participle of the verb "verklemmen"--stopped up).  I don't know where the "p" came from in the Juedisch.

          • I'll follow your lead, raj

            on the verklemmt.  :)  Thanks!

            I suspect what I used is one of those common misspellings that works its way into the vernacular, like "alot," and "allright."  How I battle with kids over those two....

  3. It's unclear to me from this post...

    Is there an abstinence-only sex education program currently in the state budget?  If yes, then it's a no-brainer - yank the funding, there's no need for that nonsense.  Programs like this lie to children to make their points - when the child learns about the nature of those lies, they discount everything else they may have learned, so any good the program did is lost. 

  4. Effectiveness of Abstinence-Only

    Here is a five-year overview of the effectiveness of abstinence-only education in ten states for those interested. 

    The bottom line:


    Abstinence-only programs show little evidence of sustained (long-term) impact on attitudes and intentions. Worse, they show some negative impacts on youth's willingness to use contraception, including condoms, to prevent negative sexual health outcomes related to sexual intercourse. Importantly, only in one state did any program demonstrate short-term success in delaying the initiation of sex; none of these programs demonstrates evidence of long-term success in delaying sexual initiation among youth exposed to the programs or any evidence of success in reducing other sexual risk-taking behaviors among participants.

    • Yep

      Nearly spot on. 

      In fact, I linked to that same source just yesterday.  Fair and balanced you know.  The link actually looks at 11 states' programs, not 10.

      Note the outcomes.  Mixed bag.

      No resounding success; no resounding failure.  Lacking is any comparison between abstintence-only versus abstintence-plus.  It's simply not yet been done.  Too young a ciriculum.

      Why then, abandon the federal dollars?  Allow the programs; let the parents choose, rather than abandon one, OR the other based on ideology.

      • Because frankly...

        I want a socity where people are getting laid more.  Sexually frustrated societies are more likely to start wars and blow themselves up and engage in all other sorts of stupidity.

        In my ideal world, sex ed would spend half its time on the hazards of sex, and half the time on good technique.

      • Okay, so instead of effectiveness studies

        let's look at accuracy.  (PDF)

        - 11 of 13 abstinence-only curricula, used in 25 states, contain errors.

        - Many cite a discredited study that say condoms reduce HIV transmission by only 69%. The study has been discredited by the FDA and CDC.

        - One curriculum states that 5-10% of women who undergo an abortion will become infertile as a result.

        - Several curricula misrepresent data to exaggerate how often condoms fail to prevent pregnancy.

        The whole report has more.

        The conclusion that we can see here is that there are two groups at work: those who want to reduce unwanted pregnancy and the spread of STDs and those who want to reduce premarital sex. The first group is interested in disseminating accurate information to encourage responsible sexual behavior. The second group want to scare people away from sex by any means necessary.

        I have no problem with abstinence, but it is downright irresponsible to withhold information on the best ways to practice responsible sexual behavior.

        • I agree

          I have no problem with abstinence, but it is downright irresponsible to withhold information on the best ways to practice responsible sexual behavior.

          The ciriculum ought be dead accurate and the Waxman testimony points to some anecdotal evidence of errors in the abstinence only teachings.

          But, to my point, why not take the Fed money, keep Healthy Futures funded and offer the parent the choice between abtenence and abstence-plus? 

          Why cave to ideologues on either side in the absence of compelling effectiveness of either ciriculum?

          Seriously, is my logic flawed somehow? Vetoing funding that would eliminate a program that some Mass parents may invite.  That makes no sense to me.

          BTW, apparently, the Democrats are nationally increasing funding for the abstinence-only as we speak.

          • Yes your logic is flawed

            You don't seriously believe that the errors in the abstinence only curriculum are accidental, do you? You don't actually believe that these errors are going to be corrected? The reason that many of us don't want our tax dollars spent on this is that it is essentially a propaganda program not education. I don't want my tax dollars spent teaching children falsehoods, even if some parents want that.


            • Belief

              You don't seriously believe that the errors in the abstinence only curriculum are accidental, do you? You don't actually believe that these errors are going to be corrected?

              I have have no "Belief" in the reputation of the ciriculum of either program.  It's like asking if I Believe in New Math.

              Regardless, yours is the only honest response I've seen in opposition to the Federal funding. Faith.  It's a matter of faith. 

              You Believe in your program and you Believe the other program lies, evidence notwithstanding.

            • Exactly

              and the relevant facts regarding abstinent behavior are always incorporated in a comprehensive health education curriculum.

              As I said earlier, the conservatives are laughing all the way to the bank. 

            • Needle exchange

              This ideological nonsense with respect to health issues is similar the needle exchange ideology.

              Needle exchange works.  I've read genuine, peer reviewed studies that show that health improves among addicts, and drug use becomes no worse when needle exchange is introduced as a program.  Go needle exchange!  I say that despite the conservative ideologues who reject it.

              Abstenence only.  Who knows?  It might work.  It might not. God knows, wouldn't you be pleasantly surprised if it did?

              But, from the comments in this thread, this is just one of those left meets right in an irreconcileable impasse.  I don't get it.  Don't like abstinence-only education? Then don't send your kids there. 

              But take the Federal money for goodness sake.  Tell the governor if he wants to Veto something, veto spending, not revenue. 

  5. Thanks for find the details.

  6. Interesting comments from a former Surgeon General

    Likewise, on the issue of preventing teen pregnancy, Carmona said he was not allowed to deviate from the administration's position that abstinence was the best approach. In fact, he said, he believes a variety of approaches are needed, including contraception for sexually active teens. The administration did not want to hear the science, but wanted to preach, Carmona said.


  7. Follow the money...

    ...Can somebody please tell me who is making money off this "abstinence only" education clap-trap.  It is probably about as dumb as Nancy Reagan's "just say no" program, but apparently is probably more lucrative--for someone.  Just who?

    It doesn't cost any money to "just say no," which is what "abstinence only" really is.  But apparently a lot of money is being spent to "just say no," and I'm wondering who the recipients are.

    • Money trail leads to the GOP

      The Abstinence Gluttons

      Over the past six years George W. Bush's faith-based Administration and a conservative Republican Congress transformed the small-time abstinence-only business into a billion-dollar industry. These dangerously ineffective sexual health enterprises flourish not because they spread "family values" but because of generous helpings of the same pork-heavy gumbo Bush & Co. brought to war-blighted Iraq and Katrina-hammered New Orleans--a mix of back-scratching cronyism, hefty partisan campaign donations, high-dollar lobbyists, a revolving door for political appointees and a lack of concern for results.

      One of the chief cooks is a media-shy 63-year-old Catholic multimillionaire, welfare privatizer and Republican donor named Raymond Ruddy. With close ties to the White House, federal health officials and Republican power brokers that date back to W.'s days as Texas governor, Ruddy has leveraged his generous wallet and insider muscle to push an ultraconservative social agenda, enrich a preferred network of abstinence-only and antiabortion groups, boost profits for his company and line the pockets of his cronies--all with taxpayer dollars.

      As for Ruddy's abstinence-only policy, recent reports, including one contracted by Bush's HHS, show that after more than $1 billion has been poured into the enterprise, it simply doesn't work. Already nine states have opted out from federal funds for this faith-based boondoggle in favor of more comprehensive and effective programs of sex education for their youth.

      "I can't think of another federal program where so much money was spent without any oversight and to such little effect," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a national organization that promotes comprehensive sexual health policies. "It wasn't that policy-makers didn't know that abstinence-only didn't work. In 2000 the Institute of Medicine issued a scathing report on these programs. But they went full steam ahead despite the warning. It's beyond naïve. It's immoral."

      "There are three areas we're about," Malloy said. "We're promoting pro-life causes, abstinence and HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa and we're now moving with that into China." In addition to lavishly funding an army of antiabortion and abstinence-only groups nationwide, Gerard also pumps hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Federalist Society, Americans for Tax Reform, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council and other conservative causes. Through Gerard, Ruddy contracted Chuck Donovan, vice president of FRC, to write an "investigative" attack on Planned Parenthood, published in Crisis magazine. Gerard also underwrote a propaganda video touting Uganda's discredited abstinence-only HIV prevention program.

      Too much to cut and paste... just read the entire sordid article. But this part was interesting:

      Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who chairs the House government reform committee, is considering hearings on Bush's abstinence programs--hearings that could expose the conservative pork barrel they've become. Since February--perhaps to avoid those Waxman subpoenas--three ACF directors have resigned. First to leave was Jeffrey Trimbath, who jumped to a fundraising post with the Heritage Foundation. A month later Keroack vacated his post. Then on April 2 Wade Horn announced his resignation. But the revolving door of influence-peddling is still turning. Horn hired on with Deloitte Consulting,(yes, this is the same consulting company that Sanjay Gupta's "expert" consults for) where according to a Deloitte statement he "will be a key advisor to health and human services clients of Deloitte Consulting's state government practice." Horn's former boss at HHS, Tommy Thompson, already heads Deloitte's Center for Health Solutions.
      • Thanks for this.

        Don't you just love that the sex-obsessed conservative "family values" crowd is laughing all the way to the bank? 

        What a scam. 

      • This makes no sense...

        Since February--perhaps to avoid those Waxman subpoenas--three ACF directors have resigned.

        ...Subpoenas are issued to individuals, not to persons currently occupying respective positions.  The individuals could not avoid subpoenas merely by resigning.

        What is interesting, though, is that one of them went to a cushy position with the far right wing Heritage Foundation.

  8. Clarification of requirements of $quot;abstinence only$quot;

    The grant does not prevent students from receiving other forms of sex education. See this advisory from March 2007.

    But what really boggles my mind is the outrage over $700k that would provide an alternative for parents who want their children to receive sex education without talk of dental dams and the like.

    To put this in perspective, $700k is 0.006% of the total amount we will spend on education this year.


  9. Nope, it's culture war

    Sheesh, it's like performance art.  A major prolitical brawl over something insignificant?  Check.  About sex?  Check.  Hidden agenda for "sexual revolution" and "puritanical" types? Check.  Here we have a fraction of a percent of the education budget being spent on something that gives parents a choice, and does nothing to restrict the option to have so called "abstinence plus" program.  Oh no! Write your legislators!

    Inevitably, someone (Planned Parenthood again?) will, as always, put something grossly offensive in the "plus" part of abstinence plus, leading to outrage among the family values set, who will then say something nasty, leading to outrage among the libertine set, who will reply in kind, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

    The Battle Hymn of the Republic came from my computer's speakers as I read your inspiring tale of Planned Parenthood's noble efforts to protect my kids' contitutional rights to hear only what Planned Parenthood wants them to hear.

    It seems like a pretty simple solution:  Accept the money for the abstinence only program, and initiate the abstinence only program.  Resist efforts to snuff alternatives to abstinence only programs.  Give parents the choice.  And let the activists move on to some other crisis.

    • Again, I think you are being deliberately obtuse.

      And you are over-generalizing and taking things out of context.

      How can you call this a "culture war" when you define it as a "major political brawl"? And this isn't over "sex"--it's over giving children the education they need as they grow into adulthood and face the kind of pressures only hormones can create.

      A "culture war" over "sex" would be people complaining, rightly or wrongly, about the sexual content of TV, movies, books, radios.

      This is a, if not political then ideological struggle between people who want parents and children to understand their options and consequences, and people who think the best way to protect children is to make them promise to just say "no."

      And I NEVER said that anyone--man, woman, or child--would "hear only what Planned Parenthood wants them to hear." You know that perfectly well.

      This kind of argument only spotlights the near-impossibility of two sides talking to each other with any reasonable results. No one trusts the other's sources. I could tell you a zillion times that an organization like Planned Parenthood does not promote abortion (remember the 3 percent of their health services are abortion services statistic?). It explains all reproductive options and their consequences honestly.

      What do anti-choice sites do? Take, for example, the unintentionally ironically named Abortion Facts--even its name is a lie. Sites like this try as hard as they can to hide their underlying agenda by telling part-truths or using a "glass half empty" approach. But if you look hard, you can find out who is sponsoring them--in this case, a group called "Heritage House," whose mission is clear:

      We are committed to the sanctity of life at all stages and to the traditional values of the institution we call the family. Because we value human life above all things our number one priority is serving you.

      Well, now, there's an unbiased scientific resource.

      Or the anti-choice movement promotes lies like Planned Parenthood encourages abortion because they "get paid for every abortion". Yes, indeed, that story is on Media Matters. But they listened to a Bill O'Reilly broadcast and transcribed what he said. These tapes/videos/newspapers/websites are accessible to all. If you don't believe O'Reilly said that, then go back and check.

      Actually, I'm tired of being the only one who backs up my statements with  references that are easily checked. I was gonna say "facts" but words like that tend to take over an argument and all of a sudden everyone forgets the substance of the argument.

      So please, if you're going to make claims, back them up. Otherwise admit that they are only opinions.


      • One more time before we agree to disagree...

        I think we have a different notion of what the "culture wars" are.  In my view the culture wars include all of the extreme heat/no light "social" issues that both political extremes use to rile up their base.

        Sex education is, in my view, the most elemental of these neverending battles, because both sides want to use it for the purpose of indoctrination: chastity on the one hand and lifestyle tolerance on the other.  Hence all of the heated rhetoric and the positions based on ideology alone.

        As far as what you want people to hear, it seems pretty clear to me that you do not want them to hear absitence only sex education programs because you are opposed to those programs.  Contrariwise, those opposed to you do not want your version of "thorough" sex education because they think it will include, or grow to include, what they view as objectionable matter, as (in their view) did the Planned Parenthood material at Tufts a few years ago.  (yes, yes, I know that that program was unfairly maligned, and didn't do half of what was accused; the relevant fact to me is that the whole pitched battle was PP vs the fundies, and still is.)

        And as far as Planned Parenthood's role, it really doesn't matter to me if they are one of the good guys or one of the bad guys.  I happen to think that they are one of the good guys, generally.  But whatever they are, they sure ain't neutral, and their policy positions on matters like sex education carry the same weight as the position of Focus on the Family on the question-- not much.  In other words they are "unbiased" only in the sense that one uses the word "unbiased" to mean "in accordance with what I already believe."

        I think that whomever asked the question above-- are there any credible, neutral third parties-- was similarly trying to look for information from a source without a political agenda.

        • re: One more time before we agree to disagree

          I see your point about your definition of "culture war." I guess it could be seen as such, if you put religious/moral/ethical issues under "culture." I agree that point doesn't need dragging out any more.

          I want to clarify how you interpreted what I "want people to hear." It's not that I don't want people to hear about abstinence-only programs. It's not a question of want--it's a question of what is effective and logical to teach in a sex-education program. And abstinence-only is neither effective nor logical--teaching that abstinence is one choice among many in sex education is effective and logical. That's not my want.

          If Planned Parenthood isn't neutral, then neither is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I cannot disagree more agree to disagree more that PP's "policy positions on matters like sex education carry the same weight as the position of Focus on the Family."

          One side offers education on ALL reproductive choices; one side promotes only ONE choice and uses half-truths and fear tactics to promote that one choice--one that is as effective as "duck and cover" was in the 60s. How could both of these carry the same weight? I don't understand how you can think that. Planned Parenthood started out as a way to teach poor women about their reproductive choices, all the way back to 1914 when Margaret Sanger was arrested in 1914 for sending birth control information through the mail; that was forbidden under the 1873 Comstock Act, which defined contraceptive information and material as obscene. I think that PP could be recognized as an expert in birth control information and education, after ninety some-odd years.

          There is no "neutral" source to be looked for here--the fact is that access to birth control information, all information including abstinence, is a necessary part of public health education. That offends some people. That's too bad, but it doesn't change the facts. We could cite evidence from another country, but I'm sure someone would also find that biased because it agrees/disagrees with pre-formed opinions and biases.

          I've got to take issue with this overwhelming NEED some people have for neutrality. Facts aren't neutral--the prove/disprove one side or another all the time. No amount of whinging about "fairness" or "neutrality" changes that. For example, you could say that Isaac Newton's Laws of Gravity offend people whose religious beliefs say that floating in the air means you're closer to god.

          I am so tired of this.

  10. A 3rd party thought.....

    I have read this thread and would like to comment on a few things.

    First, I see many people quoting numerous reports and studies and would like to ask what people think on their own without the benefit of a study.  In other words, forget the facts and figures and just tell us your gut feel about the issue.

    Second, I saw one comment that abstinence only programs were part of GWB's faith based initiaitve, yet yesterday I posted an article to this very website that quoted Al Gore as saying that Bush stole his idea of faith based initiatives back when he ran for President.  It was part of the creation vs evolution dialogue..

    As for my thoughts, since I have not read any reports or studies, I think abstinence only programs are good.  They play one part of a larger educational goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies.  Abstinence is the only true way to prevent pregnancies and prevent sexually transmitted disease.  I also can't understand how anyone would find the teaching of monogamous relationships offensive.

    I will certainly teach my kids to avoid sexual relationships until they are prepared to take responsibility for what it might bring.  Until a young person is ready to accept the possibility of a child, or a sexually transmitted disease they have no right to engage in that kind of activity.  Unless of course the government is willing to step up and cover for those people.

    I am afraid that is where the dialogue is headed.  By not teaching abstinence only we are sending the message that it is okay to get involved in something you may not be able to handle, but don't worry because there is always somebody willing to let you off the hook.

    It's funny, but we would not allow, or encourage, people who are not prepared to operate a motor vehicle to get behind the wheel.  We require them to pass a verbal and operational test in order to be safe on the roads.  We would not allow someone to handle a gun without all the required licensing and instruction necessary to prove they can handle a weapon properly.  Yet, we think that giving someone the free will to go and have sexual intercourse however they please is just peachy.  (I am not suggesting a test or license folks, so don't go there) Many want to meet half way and recommend the use a condom or to get yourself tested for AIDS, request a brochure from planned parenthood and you will be fine.  I think that is irresponsible and we need to encourage young people to be more responsible with their bodies and their desires until they are old enough to accept resonsibility for their actions.  Many people, like me, are tired of having our paychecks pinched in order to let these people off the hook.

    • Okaaay....

      In other words, forget the facts and figures and just tell us your gut feel about the issue.

      Abstinence is taught as part of a comprehensive health education curriculum.  Students should be provided information on all aspects of health, and taxpayers should not be enriching conservative special interest groups by paying for incomplete and inaccurate programing, like abstinence-only programs, into public schools.

      Second, I saw one comment that abstinence only programs were part of GWB's faith based initiaitve, yet yesterday I posted an article to this very website that quoted Al Gore as saying that Bush stole his idea of faith based initiatives back when he ran for President.  It was part of the creation vs evolution dialogue.

      Yeah, well, whatever.  Personally, I don't care whose idea it is, from a social, public health, and ethical perspective, the only responsible way to teach this material is through a comprehensive health education curriculum that includes all relevant information.

      Abstinence is the only true way to prevent pregnancies and prevent sexually transmitted disease.  I also can't understand how anyone would find the teaching of monogamous relationships offensive.

      Who introduced the straw man you're arguing with?  No one here has suggested that abstinence in practice isn't effective.  Monogamous relationships has nothing to do with this debate.  Health education is designed to provide students with information so that they can make responsible choices.  It's not moral education. 

      Until a young person is ready to accept the possibility of a child, or a sexually transmitted disease they have no right to engage in that kind of activity.


      This is not a debate about rights.  It's a debate about information. 

      Unless of course the government is willing to step up and cover for those people.

      "Those people"?  What does THAT mean?  Are 15-year-olds who, on impulse, engage in sexual activity "those people" you are talking about? 

      I am afraid that is where the dialogue is headed.  By not teaching abstinence only we are sending the message that it is okay to get involved in something you may not be able to handle, but don't worry because there is always somebody willing to let you off the hook.

      Ahhh...the rubber meets the road.  Health education is about information, not morals.  Abstinence-only education denies the natural sexuality of humans; consequently, as studies have show, it is not effective.  The merits of abstinence, however, ARE taught as part of a comprehensive program. 

      As for people getting "off the hook," are you talking about making sure females suffer through the Punitive Pregnancy?  Or that males and females suffer through the knowledge and consequences of the Punitive Venereal Disease?  How about the Punitive HIV infection? 

      This is not about punishment for making poor or ill-informed choices; this is about educating people to make informed and wise choices.  The only way that people can do that is if they have all of the information available to them. 

      It's funny, but we would not allow, or encourage, people who are not prepared to operate a motor vehicle to get behind the wheel.  We require them to pass a verbal and operational test in order to be safe on the roads. 

      Yes, well, people are not hard-wired biologically to drive automobiles.  They are, however, hard-wired biologically to have sexual urges and to be sexual beings.  Driving is an activity that is controlled by governmental agencies.  Sex is not an activity that is controlled by governmental agencies.  Driving without a license or proper instruction is against the law.  Sex between consenting young adults is not against the law.  Are you suggesting we set up a governmental agency to regulate sex and that people take a test before they have sex?  Your analogy is silly. 

      We would not allow someone to handle a gun without all the required licensing and instruction necessary to prove they can handle a weapon properly.

      You really need to work on your analogies.  Substitute "owning a gun" for "driving a car" in my response above.

      Yet, we think that giving someone the free will to go and have sexual intercourse however they please is just peachy.

      We don't give "free will."  Humans have sexual urges.  Period.  People have been having sexual intercouse, you know, for millennia.  That's what humans do. 

      (I am not suggesting a test or license folks, so don't go there)

      Sorry, but you did through your ridiculous analogies.  You should have deleted them from your post if you didn't want to suggest a test was necessary because your analogies demonstrate that you think a test is necessary. 

      Many want to meet half way and recommend the use a condom or to get yourself tested for AIDS, request a brochure from planned parenthood and you will be fine.

      Only in your own particular universe.  Who has said this?  No one has suggested this.  If you think someone has, quote them please.  This place is becoming littered with your straw men. 

      I think that is irresponsible and we need to encourage young people to be more responsible with their bodies and their desires until they are old enough to accept resonsibility for their actions.

      Uh....LOL!  Of course it's irresponsible--and no one here has suggested it.  Everybody here is, however, advocating that "we need to encourage young people to be more responsible with their bodies and their desires until they are old enough to accept resonsibility for their actions."  We are saying that the way to do that is through complete and accurate information. 

      It is not possible to make an informed and responsible decision about ANYTHING unless you have allllllll the facts. 

      Many people, like me, are tired of having our paychecks pinched in order to let these people off the hook.

      Then clearly you would join us in condemning the charlatans who are peddling inaccurate and incomplete information to our children at HUGE taxpayer expense, right? 

      • Lightiris - lighten up already

        What the hell is with everybody on this blog?  I simply asked people for their gut feel on the issue without regard for the reports and surveys.  You sound like I accidentally cut you dick off in the process.

        • .

          You sound like I accidentally cut you dick off in the process.

          That would be abstinence PLUS.

        • Please take this seriously

          What is the difference between gut feel and, say, prejudice? Why bother having science and studies if you're going to just going to consult our intuition?

          I'm reminded of some bad gym advice.

          It's "common sense" to lots of people that if you do a lot of sit ups, you will "tone" up your stomach and look "tighter". This commen sense belief has utterly no basis in fact or physiology. Body fat doesn't not go away based on what muscles you have exercised. It is precisely this problem with gut feel that gives people the wrong feeling about their guts.

          • Back at you...

            Does serious mean "Hey, I have a report!" without looking to at the data, or continually ignoring it? No one has an answer when it is pointed out by gary (or me months ago) that the conclusions are inconclusive.

            Does serious mean, "Hey, I'll put my think tank's stuff up hear and completely ignore the fact that it might be biased?". Sure, put it up, but at least acknowledge the bias.

            But more to the point, as public education, what is our goal? Is it just lower pregnancy rates and STDs? Sex education has been around for a long time. And for a long time teen pregnancy was on the rise. I think the "gut" discussion is valuable because I think we've made a leap not supported by the evidence, specifically that sex education has made one bit of difference at all.

            Maybe AIDS scared kids into safe sex? Maybe promoting "girl power" gave girls something else to be proud of other than "popularity"? Maybe condoms are better than they used be? Maybe more girls are on the pill, especially since it's been reformulated (and gosh, I hope there are some good studies on the long term effect of that)? Or maybe less people are having sex?

            So back to that "gut" thing... one of my concerns is that when you take away the risk of physical consequences, does this encourage risky behavior? Does it change the way young people regard sexuality? Is this just a shortcut to intimacy -- remove the risk, make sure it's enjoyable, and deny the emotional impact? I think we should be looking at those impacts too, and I don't know that there is "study" that has it out there. And why should there be? Last I knew, these schools were still "our" schools, and we still had some control over what gets taught.

            It's a shame some were so rude to the poster.

            • A hymn to blind devotion

              That's exactly what I have always advocated, in fact! They know better than us. As I see it, it's either gut feelings or blind devotion. One or the other. Nothing in the middle. I take blind devotion.

            • Amputation

              one of my concerns is that when you take away the risk of physical consequences, does this encourage risky behavior?

              We could amputate off limbs of children who made arithmetic mistakes. Surely, that would improve arithmetic scores, no?

              Your gutsy logic (not you, just your logic) seems mildly cruel or insance. I believe you're saying something like this:

              • Early, unprepared-for sex can cause later trauma or emotional dysfunction, like an inability to be in relationships.
              • If there are physical consequences, like horrible diseases or unwanted pregnancies, kids will avoid unprepared-for-sex.
              • Therefore, we should not reduce those risks so that horrible diseases or unwanted pregnancies keep kids from trauma or dysfunction.

              And what are you saying through the link to the Cuddle Puddle? Perhaps you find Alair and Jane icky. So?

          • Let the expert explain it all to you

            What is the difference between gut feel and, say, prejudice?...This commen sense belief...

            The expert in this case is Albert Einstein, who was quoted as saying that common sense is the set of prejudices that one acquires before the age 18.  He was quite correct on that.


            Body fat doesn't not go away based on what muscles you have exercised.

            if it is aesthetics that you are interested in, your 6-pack will not show up until you reduce your body fat to below 10%.  Regardless of how many muscles you exercise.  That's well known to us gym bunnies.

          • I will take this seriously, so here is my answer...

            I wanted to know what people's gut feel was on this issue.  I asked them to overlook the studies for a moment. 

            Example: If a rational person read the table of contents on the side of the chocolate double fudge ice cream container he/she would never have another serving again in their life.  They would read the calories and fat content and put it back in the freezer - well knowing that it is bad for them and proven so by the facts and figures on the label.  But, if they were hungry and wanted something really rich and delicious they would grab that same ice cream in a heartbeat.  My point is that sometimes we overlook the ugly details, facts and figures and act on a more emotional level.  This explains cigarette smoking, driving fast and having a pitbull for a family pet.  Oh yeah, and having trans fat french fries.  Good self government is not about some study or report labelling everything good and bad for the sake of legislation.

            I asked people to overlook the reports and surveys on abstinence and tell me the gut feel they have about negating abstinence training.  Perhaps the studies show that abstinence training is not as effective as sexual health training (however one can define that) but my gut tells me that it is still damned good advice to offer a kid.  Don't get involved in a sexual relation until you are prepared to handle the consequences, good or otherwise, of that sexual relationship.  My gut also tells me that there is room for abstinence training in the government's portfolio or resources.

            It appears that many people are perfectly happy with some government study determining what is good and bad for us all regardless of what our gut instinct tells us.  Furthermore, they are willing to outlaw the bad things based purely on the premise of a government study.  As we speak the Massachusetts legislature is considering a ban on Trans-Fats because trans-fats are bad for you.  A government study somewhere proves it.  Is the logic right or wrong?  Isn;t self government a little about governing ourselves, and not everyone else?

            I noticed a lot of people on the BMG blog quoting reports, studies and surveys as though somehow they should overrule all other free thought.  "sex training is good because a study says it is" and "creation is crap because a study shows evolution is more factually based" or my report says this or that.  I just wanted someone to look at an issue and tell me their gut feel.  The return rate is not so good at this point.

            • Limbaugh's alternative happiness

              It appears that many people are perfectly happy with some government study determining what is good and bad for us all regardless of what our gut instinct tells us.

              This is almost the exact converse of what Rush Limbaugh and similar right-wing talk show guys tell us. They don't believe in social science. (Social scientists are liberals or biased.) They don't believe in things that run against their world view. They believe their gut in preference to the truth of studies. As documented by Franken, Rush will even invent stuff that aligns with his gut instinct confident that it must be true. I submit to you that that's just like the belief in spot reduction on the part of ill-informed gym goers. "If it's obvious to me, it must be so."

              On the other hand, the media do love to oversimplify the results of scientific studies. Media reports downplay the careful gray shading of scientific papers and rarely address the questions about methodology that rage among scientists. Surely, though, we are not forced to choose between Limbaugh's  surrender to "common sense" or an obsequious following of the latest media reports of scentific studies.

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Thu 27 Apr 11:02 AM