Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Scare the F*** Out of Them.

As much as I hate to be the latest blogger to jump on the Bristol Palin bandwagon, I am driving Indie Rocker nuts and still need to get something off my chest.

I will never understand abstinence-only sex education. Ever.

More than anything, I will never understand why withholding information is considered an appropriate method of teaching. There are exactly zero scientific studies that suggest that abstinence-only education reduces teen pregnancies. If anything, abstinence-only education both increases the rate of teen pregnancies and the rise of STDs among teens.

I went to a fairly liberal high school, all told, and underwent a rather thorough sex-ed curriculum. We studied each STD in detail, endured the condom-on-a-banana demo, and learned about anatomy and everything else. Truth be told, it was probably one of the best classes I had to take in high school. For the STD portion, we had to learn every single STD known to man at the time and all of their symptoms and signs.

Do you have any idea how disgusting most STDs are? Or how many involve pus? Seriously? That was something that sticks with me to this day--I never wanted to get something that was that gross.

And I've managed to make it to 29 with nary an unplanned pregnancy, so clearly the birth control aspect of the curriculum took as well. As did the regular stops at Planned Parenthood, which certainly earns its name.

What this has to do with the Palins is that I think Bristol would have been better off with more education. I'm not calling Sarah a bad mother. I'm saying that Bristol could have been armed with actual facts, rather than maxims like "Wait until marriage." Because we can see how that turned out.

And having been a 17-year-old girl, I can offer a first hand account of how they interact with their mothers. There are still things my mother is finding out about what I did when I was 17, and we're 12 years out. However, I knew that there were certain things that I never wanted to bring home to my mother. The temptation was there, for sure--I had a boyfriend and we were no strangers to the idea of sex. I've heard before that you shouldn't be having sex until you aren't embarrassed to buy condoms. It's a fair statement, as far as I'm concerned.

I realize that I am a liberal, with liberal views on things like birth control, conception, and abortion. I know that I am considered left-wing. I'm OK with that. I just firmly believe that a woman's reproductive health is no one's business but her own, and that she should neither be legislated into a corner, or be forced into a back alley for health care. A girlfriend of mine had a bumper sticker in college that said "Get Your Laws Off My Body." I agree.

On a slightly unrelated note, I will also never understand why a group of people so devoted to the right to live for unborn fetuses can also support the death penalty and murdering pro-choice doctors. So we should be saving unborn babies, but we can kill adults whose beliefs and actions we don't agree with? Awesome.

Quote of the Day: "Well, I should just... I was thinking I'd just nip it in the bud before it gets worse. Because they were talking about in health class how pregnancy... It can often lead to an infant." Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), Juno.

1 comment:

Dara said...

While I agree with your stance on abstinence-only sex education, I have to disagree on your opinion of Bristol. I don't know what kind of interactions she and her parents had regarding sex. They very well may have taught her something about contraception beyond, don't do it. Part of the argument for abstinence only education is that those conversations belong in the home, not in school. Yeah, that would be great if it happened in all homes, but it doesn't so the program doesn't really work on a prevention level. However in this instance, the Palins (who I disagree with wholly on the issue of choice) seem like responsible, loving parents who were probably extremely involved with their daughter's life and her *choice* to keep her child and marry the father. But she has the freedom to make that choice right now, and according to her mother she shouldn't. That pisses me off. What pisses me off even more than the whole issue of Bristol being pregnant is the fact that in choosing to keep her baby she is somehow a hero. The fact that her parents, the republican party and the media are presenting this as some sort of "normal" and easy choice. The fact that no one is pointing out how extremely lucky and rare her situation really is. Because, let's be honest, most teenage girls who end up pregnant aren't doing it in the Govenor's mansion.