May 1, 2008
That is the question many in the UK are asking after their government recently released data showing a rapid increase in the number of girls ages 12-15 having abortions.
Some say this increase is because British schools teach “safe sex” programs that actually sexualize children rather than curtail sexual activity. Others say it is because they are not getting enough “safe sex” education, i.e., the schools need to push more condoms.
The U.S. is also embroiled in this same issue. Last week congressional hearings were held on whether to continue abstinence funding. Abstinence promoters pointed to studies showing that abstinence programs work and that “safe sex” programs actually increase sexual activity and thus teen pregnancy, abortions and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
“Safe sex” proponents claimed that abstinence programs do not work and that they do not prepare kids to protect themselves. They also pointed to studies purportedly proving their points.
So, who is right?
Over the past several years, I have been involved in HIV/AIDS prevention education programs in Africa. Even though literally billions of condoms have been distributed there, and billions more are being shipped in every year, the AIDS infection rates are not going down. In fact, in many places they are going up dramatically! Two years ago at the High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS at the UN, a doctor from Nigeria confirmed this when he told us, “Condoms are killing my people.”
That should tell us something about the real-world effectiveness of the approach of promoting “safe sex” through condom use.
On the other hand, there is clear evidence that abstinence programs are successful. Uganda is the classic example. It is the only African country that has significantly reduced its infection rate. In 2002, I invited the First Lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni, to give the keynote speech at a conference I chaired for UN delegates to discuss the reason for this success. She made it clear that Uganda’s success was due to the promotion of abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage and NOT the use of condoms.
So, why is that so?
Studies show that even many adults who intend to use condoms do not always use them consistently or correctly. They also show that condoms have significant failure rates. And although condom use can reduce pregnancy rates and HIV infections, abstinence can completely eliminate them.
Studies also show that children and teens who are having sex are even less prone to use a condom or use it correctly, even if they have been thoroughly educated in “safe sex” techniques. Simply put, many children are just not mature enough to decide to use a condom in the heat of the moment. A great deal of teen sex is unplanned (and adult sex too, for that matter).
It is unconscionable that schools anywhere would teach children that having sex at will and using condoms to protect themselves will keep them “safe.” In countries where HIV/AIDS infection rates are low, teen sex may lead to pregnancy, but in developing countries, and especially in Africa, teen sex is the equivalent of Russian roulette and can lead to HIV infection and death.
Family Watch will be at the UN again this June at the High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS where this issue no doubt will be hotly debated. We will be doing our part to ensure that the facts on the proven success of abstinence are kept constantly before the delegations. As part of that effort, we will be working to help nations to adopt policies that teach children to eliminate their risk of becoming pregnant or infected by HIV, rather than just reducing it.
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News Items of Interest
FWI Communications Director Lynn Allred offers some bizarre, real-life examples that make us wonder. . . Have We Gone MAD?
Something Amiss with the Swiss
I have an announcement to make.
(Drum roll please. . .)
I’m going to be . . . a GRANDMA!
I’ll share several hundred photos with you in about 28 more weeks, but for now, let me just say that I’m just glad we don’t live in Switzerland.
Why, you ask? Read on.
First, let me remind you that my “grandfetus” at the tender age of 12 weeks already has a beating heart, detectable brain waves, a mouth, lips, fingernails, fingerprints, eyelids, a nose, bones, and all his organs. He can hiccup, suck his thumb, feel pain, grasp objects, kick, swim, and hear me guffaw about Switzerland’s recent legislation.
So what’s so funny?
New legislation in Switzerland requires that all individuals respect the rights of animals. This includes scientists, farmers and pet owners. Every human must respect the dignity of every animal. Dog owners must be trained and licensed so dogs will thrive. (No training for new parents required, however, so children will thrive.) Individuals who wish to fish are required to complete a course on humane fishing. One report even suggested that the law would require that “hamsters should only be kept in pairs, and fish can only be killed under anesthetics.”
But that’s not the really funny part.
Switzerland’s Federal Ethics Committee is now debating . . . the rights . . . of plants. “Plant Dignity.” It’s all about “PLANT DIGNITY!” NOT MAKING THIS UP, FOLKS.
So in Switzerland, the dignity of a daisy is all but decided, and a sick Swiss goldfish can’t be flushed without general anesthesia, but the life of this most amazing 12-week-old grandfetus that I just described could be quickly and legally terminated in Switzerland without so much as a second thought, let alone a baby aspirin.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE???
Looks like it’s a good time to be a Doberman or even a dandelion in Switzerland. But if you’re a living, hearing, kicking, thumb-sucking, pre-born human?
Please forward this on to others!