Salon had posted an article a while ago on the ineffectiveness and dangers of the abstinence-only programs. Now Representative Waxman has looked into the accuracy of the cirricula of these programs (PDF file), and found that they are not only ineffective, but scientifically inaccuate.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, I suppose.
Representative Waxman’s report finds that the 13 reviewed curricula:
- contain false information about the effectiveness of contraceptives
For example, teaching that condoms are not effective in preventing the transmission of HIV, which is not what medical studies have shown.
- contain false information about the risks of abortion
This includes telling students that women who have abortions are more likely to become sterile afterwards.
- blur religion and science
The curricula tell students that life begins right at concpetion — religions differ on this point, and to assert it as fact points to the writers’ biases.
- treat stereotypes about girls and boys as scientific fact
My favorite quote from the “Stereotypes that Girls Are Weak and Need Protection” section:
In a discussion of wedding traditions, one curriculum writes: “Tell the class that the Bride price is actually an honor to the bride. It says she is valuable to the groom and he is willing to give something valuable for her.” The curriculum also teaches: “The father gives the bride to the groom because he is the one man who has had the responsibility of protecting her throughout her life. He is now giving his daughter to the only other man who will take over this protective role.”
- contain scientific errors
These range from teaching that each parent contributes 24 chromosomes (the real number is 23) to telling students that HIV is transmitted through sweat and tears.
I’m not sure I can comment…I’m too mad. I was already pissed that so much money is thrown into abstinence-only programs, which don’t work, but now to hear that they are just pulling stuff out of their asses to scare kids is insulting. Maybe we can at least get the government to regulate these programs that they’re funding enough so they aren’t teaching out-right lies.
Read Pharyngula’s post on this, What Women are Supposed to Want, or the Washington Post’s article, Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says for more.