Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The War on Abstince [Sic]

Last week a press release from the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy found its way into my inbox with "Abstince-Only [sic] Programs Advance Harmful Stereotypes" in the subject line:

Abstinence-only sex education programs not only are ineffective, but also advance harmful gender stereotypes, states a new ACS Issue Brief. The authors examine a little-noticed aspect of a controversial issue that otherwise has been much studied.

The article notes that the abstinence-only programs “taught in the U.S. public schools suffer from numerous flaws,” such as providing students misinformation. But the authors, Bonnie Scott Jones, a deputy director with the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Michelle Movahed, a staff attorney with the Center, point out that abstinence-only programs also can contain the “deeply harmful flaw” of perpetuating gender stereotypes.” Some of the programs “teach boys and girls that their abilities, natures, capacities, and potential are defined and limited by gender.”

What, you mean, like, teaching that *only* one of the two sexes can get pregnant?

Tut, tut.

The reliance on, and advancement of, these stereotypes, the authors say, subvert the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.


They call on lawmakers and educators to take steps to ensure they are not used in public school curricula.The authors also suggest a number of reforms they say policy makers and educators should consider.

Such as?

For example, they say that lawmakers should stop funding abstinence-only programs in favor of non-discriminatory, comprehensive sex education programs.

Ah, yes—of course:


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