Stop Lying to Keep Teens Ignorant

UPDATE: The House has postponed action on SB 283 until Wednesday. Keep up your calls and e-mails to House offices in support of responsible sex education.

Having made a fetish out of failed abstinence-only programs that lie to students, far-right pressure groups are also lying directly to voters. Texans for Life Coalition has sent out an e-mail blast that employs more lies in its reckless campaign to keep teens ignorant. The group includes ridiculous claims that amendments under consideration in the Texas House today would “outlaw abstinence-only sex ed,” “censor information about limitations of condoms and contraception,” “promote birth control as a health benefit,” “refer students to Planned Parenthood,” and “promote recreational and gay sex.” (If all else fails, drag homosexuality into it, right? You can almost feel the hate from these people.)

Such nonsense. We told you yesterday what the amendments would do. They would require that information taught about human sexuality and pregnancy and disease prevention be medically accurate. Abstinence-only programs would no longer be able to exaggerate failure rates of condoms and other forms of contraception to discourage their use. School districts would be required to tell parents what they’re actually teaching about human sexuality. And local School Health Advisory Councils would have to be structured to provide local community and parental input on health education issues in school districts.

Now it’s up to you.

Click here to find the name and contact information for your House member. Then ask your representative to support the amendments to SB 283 by Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; Michael Villarreal, D-San Antonio; and Mark Strama, D-Austin. Click here to read key information about each amendment.

The rate of teen pregnancy in Texas is among the highest in the nation, yet this state has received more federal abstinence-only funding than any other. In the face of this epidemic of teen pregnancy and soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases, more than 9 in 10 school districts teach nothing about pregnancy and disease prevention except abstinence-only-until-marriage. And abstinence-only programs are plagued with gross factual errors, lies and stereotypes. This nonsense can’t continue. Ignorance and lies won’t protect our kids.

EARLIER UPDATE: Now the Plano-based Free Market Foundation Focus on the Family-Texas is attacking the amendments, claiming that they would require “so-called ‘medically accurate’ information.” “This determination is left to persons who have an agenda,” they say. Actually, the amendment on medically accurate information lists seven agencies and professional organizations for verifying information: the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Societyof America and the American Psychological Association. They do have an agenda, of course: keeping Americans healthy.

The lies from far-right pressure groups continue to pile up, don’t they? They threw truth out the window long ago.

4 thoughts on “Stop Lying to Keep Teens Ignorant

  1. I am not sure about this one. where is this abstinence only policy being implemented? Not in our schools. My kids schools teach all kinds of sex education stuff. They allow the parents to pre screen the movies and information and then let them “opt out” if they find the material objectionable. Pretty safe and fair way to do it if you ask me. Even with that, we are also supplementing that with very specific information and discussions with our own children. This is one area that I feel necessitates a parents involvment regardless of what the schools teach. It is an area that children will be influenced more by parental expectation than by medical facts and data. With that said, I applaud the teaching of as much of the scientific information as is possible in the schools and the I will do the rest. Just my opinion!

    1. The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report in February revealing, among other things, that more than 9 in 10 Texas school districts teach “abstinence-only” when it comes to sex education. Another 2% teach nothing at all. The report’s two authors — health education professors at Texas State University-San Marcos — based their findings on responses to legally binding requests under the Texas Public Information Act sent to every school district in the state. The report is available at

  2. I guess a far right ideologue’s phony pack of lies should be confronted with a far left ideologue’s phony pack of lies to counterbalance. Please be aware that I am “…making this story up…” as I go just to demonstrate how the far right mixes half-truths, truths, factual ommissions, and out-in-out lies to create a story that would sound at least plausible to the gullible man or woman on the street. Therefore, I reiterate that the following story is false propaganda. The only difference between me, TFN, and the far right wingnuts is that the far-right wingnuts present this kind of tripe to their following as gospel truth. Here goes:

    In the early 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs Wade decision involved behind-the-door collaborations between the court and concerned conservative U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators of both parties, as well as Presidents Nixon and Ford. The primary concern was the large number of child births among unmarried black girls and black women—and the drain that this put on the U.S. budget, particularly for welfare programs. If abortion were ruled legal by the high court and some limited federal financial assistance for abortions was provided, large numbers of black women would use abortion as a birth control method. The Republican Party especially favored this approach because it not only limited federal welfare spending but served to keep the American black population in check so its numbers could never grow large enough to politically threaten Republican policies. Newspaper articles from this period of time show that there was initial widespread support for abortion among the American public, even among fundamentalist and evangelical churches. At that time, Dr. W.A. Criswell, the famous pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, is reported to have commented that abortion-on-demand was a good idea and that he had no problem with it.

    Unfortunately, as is often case with the best laid plans of mice and men, the plan backfired. Driven by the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, large numbers of upwardly mobile and career-oriented white girls from good families began getting pregnant. Instead of doing what good white people in America had always done—either get married and raise the baby or put the baby up for adoption, they started killing their unborn white babies in alarming numbers. Barren white fundamentalist and evangelical couples who had once depended upon pregnant white girls to supply a reliable stream of adoptable white babies suddenly saw their supply drying up. Why was that a problem? In that day and time, state human services boards tried to force white families to adopt black babies instead of white babies because no one in the black community wanted the black babies. The barren white couples would have none of it—outraged that any state employee supported by their tax dollars would dare try to pawn a black baby off on a respectable Christian white couple. Millions of these irate couples, all desperate to adopt a white child, complained to their pastors, and the pro-life movement was soon born.

    So, as you can plainly see, a right-wing, government-sponsored, and highly acceptable program of genocide against unborn black babies actually backfired and dried up what had been a steady supply of adoptable white babies for barren white Christian fundamentalist and evangelical couples. The pro-life movement started as an attempt to stem the tide, but they soon ran into another related problem—highly effective birth control methods. As long as such methods were available to white girls, the reliable pool of adoptable white babies would still be limited. Abstinence-only birth control became the conservative choice for addressing this problem. Why? Abstinence-only assured that an acceptable number of white girls would be always unable to abstain from sexual activity in any given year, and that these girls would provide a sufficient supply of adoptable white babies. As one commentator wryly observed on a local radio talk show, “These Christians sure do hate the sin of fornication, but they are absolutely in love with what it produces for them.”

    There you have it. An example of right-wing propaganda from the Free Market Foundation courtesy of TFN and an example of far left wing propaganda. Both look at least plausible to the average person on the street. However, they are both seeded with lies, truths, half-truths, and omissions of important facts. Neither one sounds like TFN. Why? Because TFN tries to honestly sort out the facts with issues in a dishonest world where even large numbers of Christians have become dishonest in their public discourse.

    (By the way, that comment above about Dr. W. A. Criswell. That was true.) I can supply an academic reference source if you would like.)

  3. @EOAustin,
    I can tell you that abstinence-only is being implemented in the Wylie ISD (outside of Dallas, not Abilene). My ISD is apparently fulfilling what it considers the letter and spirit of the law along with whatever else they can think of to keep the positive mention of contraception out of the schools. As parents, we’re allowed to opt-out our children from abstinence-only education (as I did) but that means they get no education in human sexuality. There is no alternative. That’s not a problem for me; I have no problem discussing the role of contraception with my kids or discussing homosexuality.

    I attended the parent open house for the abstinence-0nly program and found it to be a warped, scared-straight version full of slanted statistics. That’s why I opted them out.