Archive for abstinence only

Elizabeth Smart on abstinence-only teachings: Rape victims "filthy." “Why... worth screaming out? Your life still has no value.”


(AP Photo/The Scranton Times-Tribune, Butch Comegys)(AP Photo/The Scranton Times-Tribune, Butch Comegys)

When Elizabeth Smart was only 14-years-old, she was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City, Utah home and held prisoner by her kidnappers for nine months, forced into a polygamous marriage, and raped on a daily basis. She's 25 now. It's hard to imagine the horror she felt and the pain and confusion she suffered. It's physically sickening to even think about, and yet she survived. And now she's speaking out.

Think Progress is reporting on a speech Smart gave at Johns Hopkins about human trafficking and sexual violence. In that speech she answers the question about why she didn't try to escape when she was brought outside to public venues by her captors. And that answer was that she, like other human trafficking victims, stay put because they feel worthless after being raped, especially after being influenced their whole lives by conservatives who push abstinence-only and sexual purity:

Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”

Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”

"Pro life" but not "your life has value." Got it.

Think Progress takes it from there. Please link over and read the rest.


Cartoons of the Day- GOP's War On Women


Yeah, no war on women. Via.


Hartford Archdiocese: You can be gay, just don't have sex


Okay, see, the Hartford Archdiocese is pretending he's not really a homophobe... as he goes all homophobic on those icky gay people. Clevvvver, Arch, clevvver. And while he's at it, he's expecting gays and lesbians to deny who they are, which I'm pretty sure makes them feel like crap. How Christian of him. Do unto others and all that.

Via the Hartford Courant:

The Hartford Archdiocese wants gays and lesbians to practice abstinence in the new year.

On Tuesday, the archdiocese announced it was launching a local chapter of a national ministry called Courage "to support men and women who struggle with homosexual tendencies and to motivate them to live chaste and fruitful lives in accordance with Catholic Church teachings." [...]

Gay attraction is not the sin, the ministry preaches — only when one acts on those feelings is it immoral.

So whatever you do, don't express your love. Showing your love for someone is a sin. Loving someone is wrong. Jesus would never approve of loving someone.

Just stop being gay!

More here.


VIDEO: Rick Perry fumbles abstinence question... badly. Really badly.


Via National Confidential.

Well that wasn't at all utterly embarrassing, now was it? Summed up perfectly on the YouTube page:


Rick Perry Struggles to answer Question on Abstinence - what seems to be a rather simple question turns into a bit of a confusing mess. Give this guy the nuclear button? I wouldn't suggest it.

He's GW Bush, minus a few more IQ points. Holy dim bulbs, I never thought I'd say that about anyone.

H/t: @owillis, @pamspaulding


Video- Bristol Palin Fires Back at Keith Olbermann


Someone gifted Bristol with a dictionary! How cute. Background here.


Dep't. of Told You So: California teen births hit a record low


By GottaLaff

Here it comes, a king size portion of told you so:

Births to teen mothers in California reached a record low in 2008, according to new figures released Monday by the state Department of Public Health.

About 35 babies were born that year for every 1,000 teen females, nearly two fewer babies than the 2007 rate.

"This is absolutely phenomenal," said Norman Constantine, a senior scientist at the Oakland-based Public Health Institute and a clinical professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. "It's almost unbelievable at a time when the national rate continues to go up." [...]

The numbers also reveal a steep decline in the Latina teen birth rate. While figures for African Americans, whites, Asians and Pacific Islanders gradually declined between 2006 and 2008, the rate among Latina teens fell from 65 in 2006 to 56.9 in 2008.

Why the big fat "I told you so"? you may be asking. Because for years it's been drummed into our heads that the abstinence only policy was the single most effective way to reduce teen pregnancy. That's what conservatives insist is the way, the only way, to accomplish numbers like these.


Weaver attributed the improvement to state-supported teen-pregnancy prevention efforts, including family planning programs, comprehensive sex education and reproductive health services. [...]

Experts also lauded California for never having accepted federal dollars tied to abstinence-only funding. Weaver referred to California's approach as "abstinence plus."

Told you so.


Study: Focus on abstinence in sex-ed classes can delay sexual activity


By GottaLaff

Before we get all wee-wee'd up, there seems to be a difference or two between this study and the programs brought to us by BushCo:

Sex education classes that focus on encouraging children to remain abstinent can convince a significant proportion to delay sexual activity, researchers reported Monday in a landmark study that could have major implications for the nation's embattled efforts to protect young people against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

In the first carefully designed study to evaluate the controversial approach to sex ed, researchers found that only about a third of 6th and 7th graders who went through sessions focused on abstinence started having sex in the next two years. In contrast, nearly half of students who got other classes, including those that included information about contraception, became sexually active.[...]

The new study is the first to evaluate an abstinence program using a carefully "controlled" design that compared it directly to alternative strategies -- considered the highest level of scientific evidence. [...]

Even long-time critics of the approach praised the new study, saying it provided strong evidence that such programs can work and may deserve taxpayer support. [...]

Several critics of abstinence-only approach argued that the curriculum tested was not representative of most abstinence programs. It did not take on a moralistic tone as many abstinence programs do. Most notably, the sessions encouraged children to delay sex until they are ready, not necessarily until they were married, did not portray sex outside of marriage as never appropriate or disparage condoms.

"There is no data in this study to support the 'abstain-until marriage' programs, which research proved ineffective during the Bush administration," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth.[...]

The new study involved 662 African-American students who were randomly assigned to go through one of five programs: An eight-hour curriculum that encouraged them to delay having sex; an eight-hour program focused on teaching safe sex; an eight- or 12-hour program that did both; or an eight-hour program focused on teaching the youngsters other ways to be healthy, such as eating well and exercising.

Nobody ever said abstinence was a bad thing. Forcing it exclusively, on the other hand...

Abstinence only never made much sense to me. This particular study seems to put it all into context and provides some leeway and common sense.

Plus, this is only one study. As credible as it may be, one study is not exactly definitive. And why were only African American students involved? More research, please.