The Lady Speaks

What a surprise! Not.

From the “only Republicans and morons didn’t know this” files:

Most Americans prefer comprehensive sex-education in their schools instead of abstinence-only programs. I know I’m one of those. It is not a school’s job to teach a certain set of values.  Instead, our schools should be offering specific, factual information about sex and STDs and pregnancy. Especially when it’s been proven, time and time again, that abstinence-only education is next-to-useless in lowering the teen sex and teen pregnancy rates.


Most Americans, regardless of their political leanings, favor comprehensive sex education in schools over abstinence-only programs, researchers reported Monday.

Currently, the federal government champions the abstinence-only approach, giving around $170 million each year to states and community groups to teach just-say-no sex education. This funding precludes mention of birth control and condoms, unless it’s to emphasize their failure rates.

However, critics point out that studies have failed to show that abstinence-only education delays sex or lowers rates of teen pregnancy.


Of the nearly 1,110 U.S. adults they surveyed, 82 percent supported programs that discuss abstinence as well as other methods for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Half were in outright opposition to abstinence-only education.

Even among self-described conservatives, 70 percent supported comprehensive sex ed., while 40 percent opposed the abstinence-only strategy.

The findings “highlight a gap between policy, and science and public opinion,” said Dr. Amy Bleakley of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and lead author of the new study.


“Until we have strong evidence that particular abstinence-only programs are effective,” Kirby argues, “we certainly should relax the funding restrictions and fund programs (including comprehensive programs) that effectively delay sex among young people.”

Bleakley agreed with that conclusion. But beyond the issue of balance in funding, she said, is the fact that there is evidence comprehensive sex education can help prevent the potential consequences of teen sex — including HIV and other STDs.     [emphasis mine]

In my opinion, this is about a certain group of parents wanting that our schools do their job for them.  They don’t want to talk to their kids about their reasons for believing sex is taboo except in marriage. They don’t want to talk about the dangers of having sex before one is emotionally ready or in having unprotected sex. They’d rather preach and condemn and leave their kids ignorant. They deny reality, and then blame someone (anyone) else when their child becomes pregnant or contracts an STD.

It is hard to talk to your kids about sex. It’s even harder when you’re a mom talking to your sons, or a father talking to his daughters. But, like teaching them as toddlers not to hit or bite other people, it’s an obligation we must fulfill.

And in more “hardly surprising” news:

Poverty is moving to the suburbs. For the first time, the number of poor people living in suburbs outweighed the number of inner-city poor. It’s El Presidente’s “great economy” in action.

From the AP via MSNBC:

The suburban poor outnumbered their inner-city counterparts for the first time last year, with more than 12 million suburban residents living in poverty, according to a study of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas released Thursday.

“Economies are regional now,” said Alan Berube, who co-wrote the report for the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “Where you see increases in city poverty, in almost every metropolitan area, you also see increases in suburban poverty.”

Nationally, the poverty rate leveled off last year at 12.6 percent after increasing every year since the decade began. It was a period when the country went through a recession and an uneven recovery that is still sputtering in parts of the Northeast and Midwest.


Berube said several factors are contributing to an increase in suburban poverty:

  • Suburbs are adding people much faster than cities, making it inevitable that the number of poor people living in suburbs would eventually surpass those living in cities.
  • The poverty rate in large cities (18.8 percent) is still higher than it is in the suburbs (9.4 percent). But the overall number of people living in poverty is higher in the suburbs in part because of population growth.
  • America’s suburbs are becoming more diverse, racially and economically. “There’s poverty really everywhere in metropolitan areas because there are low-wage jobs everywhere,” Berube said.
  • Recent immigrants are increasingly bypassing cities and moving directly to suburbs, especially in the South and West. Those immigrants, on average, have lower incomes than people born in the United States.


Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said many of the same social and economic problems that have plagued cities for years are now affecting suburbs: struggling schools, rising crime and low-paying jobs.

“I call it the urbanization of the suburbs,” Morial said.

“I hope this says to people that the way to confront poverty is not to wall it off and concentrate it,” Morial said. “You really need policies to eliminate it.”

Cleveland was the city with the highest poverty rate last year, at 32.4 percent, while San Jose had the lowest, at 9.7 percent.


December 7, 2006 - Posted by | America, Birth Control, Conservatives, Family, Health, Politics, Reproductive Rights, Sex, War On Women

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