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by Storm Bear Williams
Monday, Aug. 06, 2001 at 9:20 AM
George W. Bush has claimed that abstinence until marriage will prevent the spread of HIV and unwanted pregnancies. This is a reckless lie and it is the strongest attack yet against women and their reproductive rights.
During the last two weeks in the halls of the United States Congress, politicians led by Bush 2.0 have been proclaiming that sex education should eliminate discussions of orientation, reproductive physiology and birth control. Many moves have been made at the state level to remove birth control from public high schools and displace health education teachers from sex education programs.
These changes are taking place in the face of overwhelming evidence that true sexual education lowers sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancies and the suicide rate of gay and lesbian high school students. It is a renaissance of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign only this one is for your genitals.
This latest push for abstinence emphasizes the idea of "don't touch it" and all will be right with the world. The new abstinence encourages people to throw out condoms and ignore millions of years worth of evolution and wide-open hormonal floodgates.
Our state of sex education in America is bad enough without this latest round of Congressional tampering. We do not need to decay education further by imposing ideals that removes text books from classrooms and condoms from the high school health office. Yet, that is the direction we are going.
Once the text books are gone, the health office is closed and school nurse is laid-off, Bush 2.0 wants to replace the education with a heavy dose of abstinence and moral training. He claims that abstinence is the best way to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and stop unwanted pregnancies. I hate to tell the President this, but only teaching abstinence until marriage does nothing, NOTHING, to prevent the spread of disease or decrease the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies.
It should be widely taught that the human body does not react any differently to exposure to HIV if one practices abstinence or not. The act of marriage does not alter the body's auto-immune system, distribute HIV antibodies or allow women to control pregnancy in anyway whatsoever. Only education and birth control have those life-saving features.
Without sex education, women may not know what is a natural function of the reproductive organs and what is the onset of disease. This has been the case in third world nations where women endure with no access to education. Claiming that abstinence will prevent HIV is a total lie. One can abstain from sex until marriage and be 100% monogamous in the marriage and still contract HIV from an unfaithful or needle-using partner. So did abstinence help? Oh… it helped kill her.
It is also a discredit to women to claim that abstinence until marriage lowers the rate of unwanted pregnancies. How many women have an unwanted pregnancy during marriage? A close examination of married couples living a childless life, shows that that number is quite high. Just because a woman is married does not mean that she, by default, wants to become pregnant. So if she gets pregnant during marriage and does not want to be a Mother, how did abstinence until marriage help her? Oh… it increased the abortion rate.
Abstinence until marriage does not make one invulnerable to HIV or unwanted pregnancies, only education and birth control can come close. Don't be surprised if the Bush 2.0 administration starts telling us that tuberculosis can also be prevented by participating in abstinence until marriage.
Anything is possible when you throw science out the window and replace it with ignorance. (editorial)
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