Abstinence Education Program


Well-Known Member
Jul 14, 2006
Have you guys seen this?

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2006 — If you're single and in your 20s, the federal government wants you to steer clear of sex.

That's the new guidance for states under the Department of Health and Human Services' $50 million Abstinence Education Program. HHS officials say it's not a requirement — just another option for states to combat what they call an alarming rise in out-of-wedlock births.
"This is a clear signal that they're using these resources — taxpayer dollars — to promote an ideological agenda," Wagoner says. "It has nothing to do with public health."

But HHS officials say the guidelines are not new, that department's Administration for Children and Families "merely informed States of the flexibility permitted under Federal law."

I quoted my favorite parts. I would like to know how you feel about such a program? Is it thinly disguised ideology? If it is..is it so bad? What harm could it cause?

full article here:
Quick response- the guidelines feasibly are completely relevant to the health issues and the societal issues regarding children and single-parent families, as it is more difficult (or even insurmountably so in many cases) for a single parent to raise a child to the levels of expectations that would be attributed to a stable nuclear family. Obviously what is "sufficient" is another discussion in itself, but the rationale is arguably solid.

However the measure appears a bit vacuous. The point that most 20 somethings are already having sex is a valid one, and this policy amounts to ineffectual baiting in the light of sexual attitudes and practices, as well as the perceptions of sexuality and fertility in women. I suspect that the reason for this is due to a percieved lack in the effectiveness of contraception and contraceptive practices, as it can be presumed that in the vast majority of single-parent cases, the conception was unplanned or accidental.

Thus I think this has everything to do with public health as a response to an increasingly significant pressure on modern society. But it's possibly a misguided option- funnily enough it reminds me of the damaging "cash for kids" policy that the Australian government implemented more recently.
This, empirically, is a horrible idea. Not only is our sex drive totally in another realm, as far as 'self-control', too many people enjoy sex for them simply to say 'no'. Bad idea number 1,000,000,000,000 by the Government.
Kids will end up being very naive about the facts of sex. From what I can see over here in the UK, it seems that more resources are spent in the US on telling kids not to have sex, than telling them what sex is, how it works, and what the risks are. A lot of kids don't seem to understand sex, and think you can get pregnant from kissing.
One thing that bothers me about the article you've quoted is that the concern is not with underage sex and children under the age of consent getting pregnant and having children, the concern seems to be with births outside a marriage. That is somebody's personal choice. You can't dictate a Christian ideology to a nation and tell them that they cannot have sex outside marriage. It's just wrong. In the days when divorce was taboo and getting someone pregnant meant you had to get married to them, many people ended up being trapped in abusive relationships. How is that an ideal situation? Why would anyone wish for that situation to return?
Not only will children end up being naive about sex, children are being taught a veiled aspect of the "christain" idea of not having sex until marriage. when teachers say stuff to kids, they take it as the truth, and if teachers have to say things to kids that go along with christianity, they end up thinking THAT is what is right, so when their parents or others believe differently, it is going to lead to problems.

Also, when kids are taught to avoid sex, no one is going to bother to teach them anything else, such as how to have safe sex. for the kids that disobey this new ideal, they will have no idea of how to handle sex if they choose to have it.
Not only will children end up being naive about sex, children are being taught a veiled aspect of the "christain" idea of not having sex until marriage.

Just to clarify- I believe this would be due to the Christian orientation of our historically and culturally derived axiologies, moreso than overt religious motivations. And I'd also say the "not having sex..." houses several variations on the theme- from "not having sex till you've found mister/missus right" to "not having sex at all".

Interestingly, in Australia, a new service (courtesy of whom, I'm not sure) is being set up and trialled: a confidential SMS (TXT) hotline that adolescents can consult for sex advice in times of confusion/emergency. The rationale is simply that children will be making this decision and it is self-defeating to try and suppress it, and thus we must respond to accomodate this. Which, I think, is the thrust of the responses to this other recommendation we're all responding to.
Where I am from, any abstinince education program goes hand in hand with a church ideology. I wish it was different.

The australian idea seems very interesting, and very promising. I think that is a great thing to have for youth - kids need support. They are going to experiment - they need support when they have quesitons.
I'm going to my happy place, a place where parents take their responsibilty of their children seriously. In my happy place, parents use common sense and teach their own children in an INFORMED manner about the realities of sex, the good, the bad and the morals they expect. Then I wouldn't have to worry about it.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don't want to join me in my happy place.
I have no problem with abstinence education (If you don't have sex, then you can't have kids! Simple enough?!). I just don't think it should be the end all to the debate. I think a combanation of both abstinence and sex education will both work, depending on the child's age.
I find one major flaw with abstinence; self-control.

I am a reserved guy, well intentioned, and certainly not a womanizer, but I still can't help to sneak a peak at a woman's goods. If you believe in biology and science, you'd realize that all mammals have a powerful sex drive, and promoting abstinence is nearly impossible. Sure, we are much more advanced beings, than say a rabbit, but we still lie, cheat, steal, etc., for our own personal gain. What is going to stop us from mating?
We should teach people to have children when they are secure emotionally and financially. This will not work 100% of the time, but if fewer kids are having kids , then I think it is a positive.
While I agree, people still need ways to vent sexually before becoming stable. How do you propose we address this issue?
Why do people need to "vent sexually" before they are mature enough to handle the consequences? I mean, that's why we have so many children having children, children being murdered (oh, excuse me, aborted), and such. If people would use a little self-restraint, many of these problems wouldn't be problems in the first place. Seems to me NO one needs to vent sexually UNLESS they're stable.
Hm, how do I best answer this claim that sexual suppression is a suitable population strategy?

Oh, I know! It's easy- you're wrong.

Here's a hint: try to appreciate sexual conduct appropriately- both in and removed from its cultural context. The facts plainly point to our cultural values no longer being analogous with the parameters they were originally derived from- life. From looking at a developmental model, it's actually feasible to ask "what is this self-restraint that you speak of" at least in regards to the scope of the discussion at hand. Fighting ourselves will only result in self-defeat. Acknowledgement, regulation and adaptive management however, will strengthen.