Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Abstinence Works

There are two reactions from people who read that headline: Those who say, "Well, duh!" and those who go "You've got to be kidding!". The simple fact, however, is that there is no more effective way to both prevent pregnancy and combat the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. This should be obvious. You can't get drunk if you don't drink.

This news story tells the tale of Uganda's abstinence program in cutting back a once horrific AIDs infection rate:
...In the early 1990s, Uganda had one of the worst AIDS problems in the world, with 30 percent of its population infected with the fatal disease. Since that time, Uganda's AIDS infection rate has fallen to its current 10 percent level.

According to Dr. Edward C. Green, anthropologist and senior research scientist in the School of Public Health at Harvard University, the remarkable turnaround in Uganda was based on what was called the "ABC approach." Since the early 1990s government and health officials have been encouraging their people to Abstain, Be faithful to their spouse or partner, and use Condoms if A and B fail. Teenagers were actively encouraged to wait until marriage before having sex.
Now, what's so heinous about this kind of policy? Encouraging teenagers to wait until they've found somebody they can trust and are comfortable with is problematic? The idea that one should be faithful to their spouse is absurd? Maybe to some. President Bush has been a strong leader in supporting common sense, abstinence based sexual education as a means of both cutting unwed pregnancy rates and the spread of sexually transmitted disease.

The mistake many people make in opposing abstinence education in schools is assuming that this is supposed to be the main center of attention. But all it's supposed to do is make an opening for the parents, whom are the real guardians and the ones who are supposed to raise their children - not the school - because the parents are the ones responsible for raising the child. Not many people can object to simply having the school offer a baseline warning, that if they want to avoid any sort of sexually transmitted disease, they should not have sex. This satisfies the core requirement that can apply to everyone; then if a parent feels comfortable with allowing their child to go beyond that, they can tell their child so.

But if it was the other way around, with the school going beyond that baseline policy, then it takes away that choice from all the parents.

President Bush and a lot of conservatives have caught a lot of flack for this - but just as on a slew of other issues, such as the War on Terrorism, Social Security Reform, and tort reform, we've grown used to the slings and arrows. Those who are alive and happy 20 years from now will be our reward, as well as theirs.


Blogger Sodon said...


Sun Jun 12, 02:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Carlos Octavio said...

I totally agree. Though I do know that much of the opposition to this idea comes from the fact that many school districts (specially in the midwest and south) would totally avoid talk of contraceptive techniques and instead focus solely on encouraging abstinence. This is ludicrious. Abstinence should, and must be the center piece of sexual education, but their should still be ample mention of contraception.

Sun Jun 12, 05:51:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous PG said...

Congratulations. Well said.

I think that contraception should be put into the curriculum in schools. We don't need anymore babies. I mean, damn. Got enough babas.

Anyways, if you can't get them to stop poking the hole, then you just gotta tell em how to poke it kindly and safely. Uhh, yep. :)

Mon Jun 13, 12:54:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it's not just abstinence in Uganda, it also involved A an B, condoms and safe sex and knowledge about them.

Mon Jun 13, 01:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kaufer said...

Why is it the public schools' responsibility to teach students how to wear contraceptives? Should it not be up to the parents to raise their own kids? Every family has a different set of values. Abstinence makes the most sense. It is most effective, no parents will get offended if their kid gets taught this, and it leaves the parent with some leeway on how far they want to go while teaching their children about sex. Some parents may think it is important to stress condoms and safe sex. Other parents will teach their kids the importance of abstinence and sexual purity. Let the parents decide this.
Teachers should teach kids about math, science, and history. They should not cross the line and share their own values that in some cases may defy the values of their parents.

Mon Jun 13, 03:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Because these days parents simply don't want to put the effort into raising their kids. Of course they want the kids to turn out well, and be happy, and all that, but actually spending the time and effort to make that happen is somebody else's responsibility. This is the cause of many (most? not sure if I'd say that) of the major problems with society today.

Mon Jun 13, 03:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Edward Green said...

I agree that abstinence is a component, not the main factor. The main thing that has worked in Ugandan--and indeed African-- AIDS prevention is fidelity or monogamy (the B of ABC)

Edward C Green,
Raging Left-Winger

Fri Aug 29, 03:02:00 PM EDT  

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