‘Drug-Based Sex Education’ Redux

by Jose Medina

In our latest episode of “Liberty Institute Says the Darndest Things,” we look at the Focus on the Family Texas affiliate’s use of a fear-mongering term we’ve covered before, but this time we have audio of it.

We’re talking about “drug-based sex education,” an absurd construction used (maybe even coined) by LI’s Austin-based lawyer/lobbyist any time he argues against comprehensive sex education and for the failed abstinence-only programs that dominate sex education classes in Texas schools.

The audio comes from a forum at TribFest, an event put on by the Texas Tribune a few weeks ago. (TFN President Kathy Miller also participated in the forum.) The LI lobbyist is responding to an audience member asking him to explain just what he means by “drug-based sex education.”

“If you go on the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s) website and look at a list of approved contraception methods, which some people are OK with them teaching as a part of comprehensive sex education in public schools, you see a whole list of different contraceptive techniques that use drugs, that require a prescription. I mean obviously, the pill is one of them. It’s a prescription, it’s drug-based. You look at the stuff that you have to inject into your arm and the different things that have to be implanted, all those things are based on getting a prescription or having some drug-based part of it.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6fkKXZuW8Q&w=450&h=30]

OK, so that’s a more complete explanation than he’s offered before, though no less asinine. It’s so asinine that it appears LI is the only one parroting this ridiculous talking point. At least now we know “drug-based sex education” doesn’t mean shooting up kids with drugs before they learn about the birds and the bees. Now we know he actually means “drug-based contraception.”

Glad we cleared that up.

Now, for the substance of the matter. As far as we can tell, this is the part of the FDA website LI has been citing. We’ll point out that the FDA does not refer to contraception as “drug-based,” only LI does. And, yes, obviously some forms of contraception do require a prescription. But that doesn’t mean telling teens about different forms of contraception is “drug-based.”

Of course, it’s clear what LI is attempting to do. By calling sex education “drug-based,” the group is hoping its audience will imagine teens learning about sex in some crazed opium den deep in the bowels of your local public school. Or girls seeking out dark alleys and street corners to get their fix of illicit doses of the pill. Which, come to think of it, might not be too far from reality if the religious right has its way. With the religious right’s ongoing war on contraception, pressure groups like Liberty Institute probably support making contraception illegal anyway.

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