19 May 2010

Abstinence Only: Shelby Knox Gets to Heart of Souder "Affair"

You may by now have heard the scuttlebutt surrounding Representative Mark Souder’s (R - IN) resignation from office (you know: the increasingly common tale of a politician being caught in an affair after years of preaching “family values” to a conservative base). But what you may not have seen yet is Shelby Knox’s fantastic piece, which highlights how dangerous support for the abstinence-only approach lauded by Souder has been for millions of school children around the country.

Leaving somewhat to the side Souder’s hypocrisy in promoting sex-inside-marriage as the “only way” to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, while actually engaging in sex outside of his own marriage, Knox focuses her critique on the real world impact of these policies on America’s youth. On the Women’s Media Center site, she writes,
What I really want to know is what Rep. Souder and others like him have to say to the millions of young people whose health was endangered by being told condoms don’t work, or that we’re worth less as human beings depending on who we have sex with and when. What I want to know is how in good conscience adults – who knew by the simple benefit of life experience it was a lie – could pretend that sex and sexual relationships are always uncomplicated as long as they’re kept inside the safe confines of marriage?
Seeing folks like Souder hoisted on their own petards may bring a certain satisfaction – but remembering how many lives have literally been put at risk because of policies like these is sobering indeed. And while you may have thought with a new president we'd be able to right this wrong and focus solely on evidence-based alternatives, not so fast: these failed policies will continue to threaten youth nationwide. Last summer, the Obama Administration did allow federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs to lapse, but this year's health-care reform legislation brought support for them right back.

Navigating this complex and politically charged environment, our grantees, including California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and New Mexicans for Responsible Sexuality Education and many others, continue to work hard in states and school districts across the country to build a future where all youth have access to comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education; despite what Rep. Souder and his cohort would tell you, it’s the least they deserve.

No comments:

Post a Comment