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Pediatricians: abstinance-only ed is stupid

Pediatricians think the AmTaliban is whacked. Who’s left beside the bible-beaters that think virginity promise rings and abstinence-only education are in the best interest of the health and well-being of young people?

“Even though there is great enthusiasm in some circles for abstinence-only interventions, the evidence does not support abstinence-only interventions as the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy,” said Dr. Jonathan Klein, chairman of the academy committee that wrote the new recommendations.

Teaching abstinence but not birth control makes it more likely that once teenagers initiate sexual activity they will have unsafe sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases, said Dr. S. Paige Hertweck, a pediatric obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Louisville who provided advice for the report.

The report appears in July’s Pediatrics, being published Tuesday.

It updates a 1998 policy by omitting the statement that “abstinence counseling is an important role for all pediatricians.” The new policy says that while doctors should encourage adolescents to postpone sexual activity, they also should help ensure that all teens — not just those who are sexually active — have access to birth control, including emergency contraception.

And then you have the government mouthpiece, Wade Horn, of HHS, spouting off nonsense in response:

…counseling only abstinence, preferably until marriage, is the best approach because it sends a clear, consistent message. Teenagers who are sexually active should have access to contraception, but making birth control available to teens who aren’t sends a contradictory message, he said. The academy’s recommendations “to some extent confuse prevention and intervention,” Horn said.

If there isn’t already enough confusion in many teens’ heads about what is or isn’t “sex”, it’s irresponsible to keep them in the dark about appropriate means to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. Goodness knows there are plenty of adults, who allegedly should know better, equally ignorant of how to handle these same situations.

One could argue, with all the self-loathers and closet cases out there participating in risky sexual behaviors and lying/denying like our friend Jim West, our society needs all the information it can get.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding