By Tom Stark, 05/09/2012
Back on February 1, 2012, the day I began my tenure as a blogger for the Family Policy Council of WV my article on teen pregnancy questioned whether or not the increase in teen pregnancy could accurately be blamed on “more sex and less protection” or on a reduction in the number of abortions being performed on teens in West Virginia. Several weeks later, on April 11, Whitney Burdette of the State Journal, wrote an article concerning the WV State Board of Education’s policy against abstinence only sex education.
A striking claim made by those speaking with the author was that there was effectively no difference in the rates between those exposed to “comprehensive” versus “abstinence-only” sex education curricula. Quoting the April 11, article:
“Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest youth-based pro-life organization, said the rate of sexually transmitted diseases [STD’s] among teens is the same no matter the type of sex education those teens are learning. “
While this statement refers to STD’s, not teen pregnancies, it takes little thought to acknowledge that teen pregnancy can equally be impacted by the same behaviors. So, we have apparently reliable data showing no difference in the results achieved, but the far safer of the two is forbidden by our State Board of Education. This makes total sense…in an upside-down world.
That article demonstrates just how out-of-kilter our state’s policies have become and just where we are headed, but the thing that struck me the most was that there were strong suggestions in the latter portions of the article that what is missing in our policies and standards as well as our laws is parental involvement and parental responsibility. With that I can whole-heartedly agree! Where is the priority given to parental guidance? Where does the policy encourage parental participation? Again, the article quotes Kristan Hawkins:
“Hawkins said that although her organization doesn’t take a stance on sex education, she personally believes that contraception-based education does not solve all problems. ‘Everyone agrees that abstinence is the only way to remain STD free, the only way to reduce out of wedlock births, but no one wants to talk about it or give it a try,’ she said.”
That sums it up very nicely. But it strongly rebuts Burdette’s April 4th article (updated on May 4th) which claimed that there is strong evidence that abstinence-only sex education is a total failure. It’s enough to give one a headache. Dueling statistics that can be manipulated to support one’s cause do not expose the truth.
Another of Ms. Burdette’s articles appeared on April 17, however, it was lacking input from any family-friendly groups. The entire gist of the article appeared to be a pitch for insurance coverage for contraception. Wasn’t this article appearing about the same time there was a major dust-up inWashington about the HHS regulation requiring faith-based employers to provide contraception and abortion drugs as part of their insurance coverage? How coincidental!
That article also mentioned TV channels like MTV that create an atmosphere that encourages kids to get pregnant in order to be on shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” by promising payment to the mothers. By accepting such things without complaint, parents are encouraging early experimentation, early exposure to great health risks, and early exposure to the life-long repercussions that come with such risky behaviors that no amount of compensation can make up for.
Who are the best people to discourage these risky behaviors? There are none better than parents who show an interest in raising their children with a sound foundation of moral principles. Parents must help them to understand what is happening to their bodies and their minds as they reach the age where their hormones can override common sense. It is their obligation – and duty – as parents to show them proper behaviors.
These duties are not things that can be delegated to a teacher at school. They are issues that must be addressed at home.
Why is it so difficult for some to see that all of these articles, the information provided and the existing programs miss the most important aspect of the problem? Sexual contact between consenting adults is a part of God’s design for mankind, but it was and is intended to be had only in the context of a committed relationship consummated in marriage between a man and a woman.
Until we, as a society, return to accepting the traditional roles of marriage and parenting and stop abdicating those duties to others, we will continue to see statistics that make us wonder if things will ever improve. Think about it!
About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.