By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
For those of us who feel we've been trapped in a time warp on the issue of sex education, normalcy is about to return. The 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill just approved by Congress eliminates funding for abstinence-only education. Can we imagine that public school students can be taught real, true, biologically-accurate sex education? That, instead of religious propaganda, even if they attend schools that receive federal funds? Wow!
Back to the future we go. There was a time in America when there was no such thing as abstinence-only education. Funding for "abstinence only sex education" (which really means, skewed so-called sex education teaching kids not to have sex until marriage and little or nothing about biology or birth control) was actually appropriated for the first time under former President Clinton. But it flourished under the Bush administration and Republican Congress, even while studies revealed it was largely ineffective.
Biologically-accurate sex education has always taught teens that the only completely reliable way to remain STD-free is to abstain from sex. Same for girls who don't want to become pregnant. But can you imagine what would happen if liberals tried to press a version of sex education that only encouraged teens to have sex, without teaching them how to avoid STDs and pregnancy? That would be the polar opposite of "abstinence-only" education. And yet the public would be in an uproar.