Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Like clockwork, another prediction comes true.

Last year, the teen birth-rate, which had been falling steadily during the 1990's and then leveled off to a slow decline the past few years, rose, by about 3 percent.

When the Bush administration and the GOP Congress started cutting funds for comprehensive sexual education courses in schools and spending more on 'abstinence only' the rate of decline started to slow, the slowdown accelerated and finally, after several years of pushing this policy it has now reversed and become an increase. This is exactly what experts in the field of sex education predicted would happen when traditional sex ed was replaced with 'abstinence only.'

This wasn't just a matter of 'if it ain't broke then don't fix it.' The Bush administration took something that was working, and while trying to 'fix' it, they broke it.

I have no problem with including the fact that abstinence is the only 100% effective method of preventing pregnancy and the spread of STD's in a broader discussion of birth control (as it had been in the past), but the Bush administration's insistence on abstinence-only education is now starting to bear fruit. And the fruit is lemons, not cherries.

What comes next? A rise in STD's among teens? More abortions? More AIDS cases? Will the doctrinaire officials who reversed the success that sex ed had had since 1991 by replacing what had been working with abstinence-only take the blame if that happens too?

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