"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Sex Police: Coming to A School Near You

Thanks to another one of Bush’s education policies that he dug up from the Dark Ages, there’s a new and dangerous virus spreading through state legislatures and our nation’s schools called abstinence-only sex education. It should come as no surprise that an administration that prides itself on faith-based delusional fantasies has staked out another frontier for its war on freedom and civil liberties by meddling in the sex lives of American teenagers.

Jumping on the bandwagon are Republican lawmakers in Virginia giving a whole new meaning to the term school bullies as they try to beat teachers and teenagers into submission while igniting a new round of homophobia in schools – making sure that gay students don’t get too comfortable with their sexual identities. Two bills have been introduced by VA lawmakers that would promote abstinence-only sex education and make it more difficult for gay students to form clubs.

In harmony with Bushco’s MO of using phony research from neo-con right wing think tanks to back up their claims, the latest round of propaganda can be found in a new study that blames the liberal media and the baby boomers for sticking to the notion that a healthy approach to teenage sex can actually save lives. Meanwhile, the legislation and the Bush administration policies ignore REAL scientific research from the CDC that clearly documents improving trends in youth risk-behavior are a direct result of comprehensive sex education. At the same time, there is a lack of any credible research showing abstinence-only sex education to work. To add insult to injury, Bush, captain of the morality police and king of the liars, had the chutzpah to pledge in the SOTU (same old truthiness -- unbelievable) to take action to stop the HIV/AIDs epidemic, which has been particularly devastating for African American women while proposing to slash funds for HIV prevention at CDC:

“The White House's budget proposal last year - which shaped the budget now awaiting final congressional approval - cut funding for the HIV prevention work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $4.5 million. And it flat-lined almost every aspect of the Ryan White CARE Act for a third-straight year. Meanwhile, the administration spent the last congressional session shoving its proposal to gut Medicaid through Congress. The budget Congress is now poised to approve would shift the program's growing cost onto the backs of the poor families it was designed to help in the first place.

At the White House's insistence, the bill will allow states to charge co-pays that may reach as high as hundreds of dollars for some. The Congressional Budget Office has said this cynical step would not save money through people actually paying the co-pays but rather by discouraging them from using Medicaid at all. Medicaid is the nation's largest payer for AIDS treatment, and two-thirds of Blacks getting AIDS care pay for it with public health insurance. In the coming days, the White House will submit its next budget proposal. Perhaps it will reflect the ideals of the "hopeful society" the President described. But given the goals outlined in the rest of his speech, we won't hold our breath. "

Another REAL report, “Reversing Course: The Impact of ‘Faith-Based’ Sexual Health and Family Planning Policies At Home and Abroad,” argues that the replacement of scientific programs by so-called ‘faith-based’ ones over the past six years jeopardizes the progress made during the 1980s and 1990s in improving teen sexual health domestically and reducing HIV/STD infection rates and unwanted pregnancies worldwide.”

The attacks against anyone who might disagree with the moral majority just keep on coming from groups like Focus on the Family Action and the Heritage Foundation. Then again, when it comes to the truth, its abstinence only for the delusional faith-based.

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