Once again, we continue the discussion on Conservative Values, especially in relation to sexual education programs, and how everything anyone says that is conservative is at the very least misguided, or failing that intentionally evil. Let us clear the air a little bit and examine the source of the facts as I take up DJ Colonoscopy’s challenge to tear holes in these sources.
The sources listed in his article were The United Kingdom’s Guardian, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), UNICEF, and the United Nation’s children’s fund as well as the Bush Bashing quote from the L.A. Weekly.
I was unable to identify a quote or even a source article from the UK’s “the Guardian” or the Associated Press.
I did happen to find a second article from a slightly less left leaning news source than the LA Weekly, ABCnews. The headline pretty much told me that the information that DJ Colonoscopy had given us was misleading: “Virginity Pledges Work.”
Not satisfied with simply reading a secondary source, I searched for the primary, the original report from columbia University. I was unable to find online (for free) a copy of the report which was originally published in the “American Journal of Sociology” (Volume 106, Number 4 (January 2001), pp. 859-912), but I was able to find several direct quotes that correlated one another.
“Since 1993, in response to a movement sponsored by the Southern Baptist Church, over 2.5 million adolescents have taken public virginity pledges, in which they promise to abstain from sex until marriage. This paper explores the effect of those pledges on the transition to first intercourse. Adolescents who pledge are much less likely to have intercourse than adolescents who do not pledge. The delay effect is substantial. On the other hand, the pledge does not work for adolescents at all ages. Second, pledging delays intercourse only in contexts where there are some, but not too many, pledgers. The pledge works because it is embedded in an identity movement. Consequently, the pledge identity is meaningful only in contexts where it is at least partially nonnormative. Consequences of pledging are explored for those who break their promise. Promise breakers are less likely than others to use contraception at first intercourse.”
So the evidence shows that the program actually does work.
Let us return to DJ Colonoscopy’s article; he mentions various studies (including the CDC) ranking Texas as having the fourth highest incidence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. This, in fact, is not true. The CDC article DIRECTLY LINKED from DJ Colonoscopy’s article lists Texas as the state with the 11th highest incidences of Gonorrhea and Syphilis, the only list where Texas gets failing marks. It should be noted that compared to the states in the top 10, Texas is a distant 11, where Illinois is 193.1 instances per 100,000, Texas is 166.6 per 100,000. An interesting side note would be to track where Texas was before the abstinence programs took effect.
Other states ranked ABOVE Texas include Maryland and Illinois — two states I’m quite certain do not run abstinence based programs in their school systems.
The words of the LA Weekly article certainly sound vitriolic and overly dramatic now, don’t they? Lethal new regulations? Rupublican’s goal of gutting HIV prevention? The CDC agrees: “The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected.” (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/latex.htm)
Does anyone dispute that sexually transmitted diseases are, well, sexually transmitted? Ergo, if sex is abstained from, will not the diseases cease to spread? Furthermore, if monogomous relationships are encouraged on top of this, will not the chance of partner-sharing (and by virtue of this, disease sharing) also decrease?
Assuming that there is an equal chance that if one uses a male latex condom it could work as intended, somehow magically passes the virus with no reason given, has an invisible leak, or has a visible leak, there is still roughly a 2 out of a 1000 probability that you’ll have a greater chance to pass the virus than if unprotected sex is practiced (according to page 10 of this NIH report: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/stds/condomreport.pdf)
The report futher states: “It should be noted that, for many STDs, risk of infection might not be proportional to exposure to a volume of semen. Estimation of risk requires further extrapolation because it depends on additional variables, especially the infectious agent of interest. The concentration, infectivity, and mode of transmission of the specific STDs clearly need to be considered, time to get STD aware.”
Essentially, the takeaway is that condoms, if they work as designed (of which there is no guarantee), and if they are applied with care (which they rarely are), then they will PROBABLY protect you from disease.
As to the ‘censorship’ mentioned by DJ Colonoscopy, once it is put to print, it is certainly a lot less horrible than it sounds. When one says “Bush is censoring and suppressing the CDC’s data about AIDs,” it sounds facist.
Even in a left-leaning restatement of what the policy decision is, it sounds a whole lot less oppressive.
What Bush is actually legislating is not censorship, but that local authorities exercise their constitutionally protected rights, which is to determine what is obscene in their constituency. If a survey, pamphlet or education program is obscene, a federal government would be remiss if they were to shove it down a community’s throat.
The term of legal significance is “obscenity”, which, after struggling for many years and through many cases, the U.S. Supreme Court defined in Miller v. California in 1973. It is a three-part test, as follows:
“The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
(a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Kois v. Wisconsin, supra, at 230, quoting Roth v. United States, supra, at 489;
(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
The information that a condom helps prevent disease can be communicated to a young person, no one is contesting that at all… what could be considered obscene in certain communities is the application of said condom to a phallic symbol, or offending their sensibilities with questions of sexuality. People in Los Angelos or San Francisco are not going to have the same sensibilities as people of Dade City, Florida or Albequerque, New Mexico. For the Federal Government at any agency level to define what is or is not obscene across the board is unconstitutional.
The quote that DJ Colonoscopy attributes to the CDC is in fact NOT from the CDC, but a message from a political activist left on a CDC message board (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/content_guidelines/comments/comment_105.htm).
Once again, I challenge your
facts memes, DJ Col
onoscopy. You are proposing a very liberal meme of your own, so by virtue, it is a hard sell. I’m not going to let you off easy on this one, so you’ll have to dig hard for your support. Even worse for you, conservative meme-holders have an advantange on this one, since it is not such a hot-button issue like gay marriage or adoption, there is no knee-jerk reaction from the public, and facts and theories can be examined for what they are without emotions coming to play.