As a teen growing up in today’s world, I have been in the middle of one of the hottest choice-related topics right now- the abstinence-only debate. Though Spokane is in Washington state, which mandates comprehensive sexual education, the programs where I live are abstinence only. There is an amazingly negative opinion of sex at the schools.
Don’t get me wrong- I don’t expect them to do things like telling middle school students how to use a condom. But they told outright lies to discourage the students from having sex and getting abortions should they get pregnant. Some of the more outlandish examples included saying that a fetus gets a heartbeat at THREE DAYS. (I checked other sources- the actual figure is at least a few days later than that.) They also tilted the connotation of some statistics they presented: instead of saying condoms are 99.9% effective, they said condoms have a .1% failure rate. To a teen that age, the connotation attached to failure makes a .1 % failure seem like a 100% failure rate.
The program also acted as though homosexuality is non-existent: there was a box where you could put questions, and it was promised that ALL questions would be answered. My sister, who was in the class a year before me, asked about whether it is possible for STDs to be transmitted among homosexuals. She saw the teacher grab the question from the box, yet it was never answered.
Then, when I went to high school and took the semester-long health class, there was a unit on sexual health. Despite the name, all they did was try to scare us. (They went over the symptoms of each disease but then it became trying to scare us.) For example, during the unit on STDs and their symptoms, the teacher had us view a slide show of pictures of various body parts when infected with STDs. The teacher stated the purpose of the video. It wasn’t to know what to look for in STDs. It wasn’t to arm us with knowledge. It was to SCARE us so we wouldn’t have sex. The teacher actually said, “If even one person in this class, who would have had sex before, decides not to have sex after seeing this video, it will have been a success.” They don’t care if we know what an STD looks like (at least as long as we know he symptoms which they admitted are usually easily confused for other diseases, especially the flu), they just don’t want us to have sex. [Read more...]