Given the news earlier this month about shockingly high rates of multiple births to teens in Texas (see here and here), we thought we’d share (again) data from this year’s Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report about sexuality education in Texas public schools. What are Texas school districts teaching students about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention?
See the problem?… Read More
Texas isn’t the only state that is constitutionally challenged. In fact, Mississippi is giving us a run for our money when it comes to (willful?) ignorance about what the First Amendment means.
Earlier this summer, our friends at Advocates for Youth brought us the disturbing tale of an abstinence-only rally/evangelical prayer meeting sponsored by the state of Mississippi:
In May, the state of Mississippi threw a state-funded abstinence-only rally for students where they were told the value of not having sex until marriage (including a chant that went “Stop! Don’t touch me there! This is my no-no square!”). That in itself is legal, but not when the rally itself is from start to finish a blatant attempt at proselytizing students in Christianity.
The ACLU just brought forth a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi last week for violating the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from promoting one religion over another.
(You can read about the rally — and watch video clips — here. Suffice it to say, this rally didn’t simply brush up against the church-state boundary. It trampled right over it.)
Now Mississippi Senior Pastor Lt. Governor Phil Bryant weighs in… Read More
From a message being circulated to a far-right e-mail list in Texas today:
“(T)he teen pregnancy rate is certainly not the fault of abstinence-only sex education programs but is instead the outgrowth of prolific contraceptive sex education programs.”
The same e-mail says the Obama administration and members of Congress “are trying to kill your children” because they support teaching not just the importance of abstinence, but also medically accurate information teens need to make important life decisions and protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Don’t buy the lie. Ignorance won’t protect our kids.… Read More
For years Texas has had one of the highest rates of teen births in the country — and that rate is rising. At the same time, the state’s education officials have bowed to the demands of the religious right, with more than nine out of 10 school districts teaching abstinence-only-until-marriage instead of medically accurate sex education. In fact, a report released in February of this year by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund revealed that just 2 percent of the state’s school districts teach comprehensive sex education that includes medically accurate information about contraception and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
But who do social conservatives blame for the epidemic of teen pregnancy in Texas? Mexicans — or more precisely, what they see as the moral failings of Mexicans. Says Cathie Adams, head of the far-right Texas Eagle Forum:
“If mom had a baby at age 15, are her morals going to be setting different standards than someone who has grown up in the American culture where that is not typical? As a matter of fact, we would look at someone impregnating a 15-year-old as child abuse.”
Rather than acknowledge the failure of abstinence-only programs that have a… Read More
A Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report released in February revealed that more than nine in 10 Texas school districts teach students nothing about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention when it comes to sex except for abstinence-only-until-marriage. One of the most common strategies in abstinence-only curricula, the study’s authors found, was wildly exaggerating the failure rate of condoms as a way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The goal of those programs, of course, is to persuade students that the only way to protect themselves is is through abstinence.
Countless medical studies have shown this approach to be fear-mongering fiction, not responsible education. Now we have another example — the fight against AIDS in Haiti:
In the early 1980s, when the strange and terrifying disease showed up in the U.S. among migrants who had escaped Haiti’s dictatorship, experts thought it could wipe out a third of the country’s population.
Instead, Haiti’s HIV infection rate stayed in the single digits, then plummeted.
In a wide range of interviews with doctors, patients, public health experts and others, The Associated Press found that Haiti’s success in the face of chronic political and… Read More