Bryan Rep. Bill Flores Wants To Revive Abstinence-Only Education Funding

Categories: Politics

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Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?
All this arguing we're doing about contraception is getting a little tiresome, isn't it? Sure, we get to use the word "sluts" repeatedly in a national conversation, and we've watched several elderly male politicians state their understanding of how birth control works, explanations which often deserve bonus points for creativity. But really, the whole thing's getting old. It's just another small piece of the intractable culture war, one in which neither side is ever going to budge.

So let's change the subject. How 'bout abstinence-only education? Ready to argue about that again? No? Too bad!

While perusing the American Family Association's "news" website, One News Now, we stumbled across this article about Senator Lindsey Graham's proposed Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, which he introduced March 12. Its stated purpose is to "award grants on a competitive basis to public and private entities to provide qualified sexual risk avoidance education to youth and their parents."

"Sexual risk avoidance," you see, is the new way that conservative politicians are referring to abstinence-only education, as opposed to "sexual risk reduction," which involves talking about condoms and is thus obviously unacceptable. Graham's bill looks virtually identical to a bill introduced into the House by Illinois Republican Randy Hultgren last year, a bill which, from the looks of it, was referred to the Subcommittee on Health and left to die a quiet death.

Nonetheless, Bryan Congressman Bill Flores is pushing to make sure the same measure is considered in the House once again. He and Dan Boren, a Democrat from Oklahoma, wrote a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking that in the fiscal year 2013 budget abstinence-only education be allotted the same amount of money as comprehensive sex ed.

"Contrary to claims by anti-abstinence groups, SRA is effective," part of the letter reads, "Twenty-two independent research studies show positive behavioral impact for SRA programs. Students in SRA programs are more likely to delay sexual initiation than their peers and are no less likely to use a condom if they become sexually active. In addition, according to a recent study by HHS, most parents and teens support the SRA abstinence approach."

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Congressman Bill Flores says, "Knock it off, you kids!"
According to a just-released study from the Guttmacher Institute, which is generally considered the best authority on issues of sexual health, talking about abstinence does actually work. Just as long as you're talking about condoms at the same time. Otherwise, contrary to what the representatives seem to believe, teenagers probably aren't going to use them.

As the study's authors put it:

Respondents who had received instruction on both abstinence and birth control were older at first sex than their peers who had received no formal instruction and were more likely to have used condoms or other contraceptives at first sex; they also had healthier partnerships. Those who had received only abstinence instruction were more likely to have delayed first intercourse than were those who had had no sex education, but abstinence instruction was not associated with any of the other protective behaviors at first sex. Moreover, condom use at first sex was significantly less likely among females who had had only abstinence instruction than among those who had received information about both abstinence and birth control [Emphasis ours]. The study found no relationship between sex education and current sexual behaviors, suggesting the need for ongoing education after the onset of sexual activity.

Regardless, Flores and Boren are unhappy with, as they put it, "the 20:1 disparity between the SRR and SRA approaches."

"There's a disparity between the funding," Flores' press secretary Andre Castro told us. "We're just looking to re-establish parity between SRA and SRR." (He used the word "parity" four times in a five-minute conversation.)

Castro wouldn't say that the goal is to decrease comprehensive sex ed money to increase the funding for abstinence-only programs. "We're just looking for parity," he said. "We're just trying to see where it can come from. We're not asking for anything. We're asking for parity."

Flores and Boren's letter also asserts that "75 percent of teenagers aged 15-17 have never had sex," according to the CDC. That's also not quite right: a CDC study of teenage sexual activity from 2006-2010 found that about 42 percent of teenage females and 43 percent of teenage males had had sex at least once.

Nonetheless, it's pretty clear where the representatives are going with this: their letter concludes, "We believe Congress should continue to support programs that focus exclusively on sexual risk avoidance abstinence education." We look forward to the endless argument that's sure to ensue. The full letter is attached below.

Flores Sexual Risk Avoidance Letter



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20 comments
Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

How long before they just make a law banning contraception? Or is that too anti-business?

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

So ass backwards. You can't compete against hormones & crap like 16 & Pregnant with only abstinence talk! Teens need lots of sex education. Condoms, birth control, STDs, consequences for acting in the heat of the moment. Come to think of it, tons of adults could use the same thing.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Just take some of the money they've robbed from women's health care (what hasn't been spent on shotguns and congratulatory snifters of scotch), and lay it on abstinance.

Then take students to high schools like North Dallas, where ladies are 15 & pregnant, and walk the halls until a week or two before they deliver. If that doesn't do it, condoms & bananas.

Doug
Doug

Boy I'd like to stick my key in that lock!!

Steve T
Steve T

"Restore America back!"

Even with the redundancy this is a desparate fantasy, complete with an incredibly rosy picture of the 1950's, 40's or whatever decade these fools want to live in.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I wish these idiots would abstain from breathing.

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Sexual Risk Avoidance = Avoid Sex.

So simple even a conservative could comprehend it.

Ed D.
Ed D.

If only these legislators' parents had practiced just a bit more abstinence...

RTGolden
RTGolden

Are the republicans running out of pregnant teenage high school dropouts for which they can blame liberal social policies?  Do they really believe that 75% of teenagers haven't had sex?  Even as a conservative, this is too stupid to comprehend.  Abstinence-only education, and a loose definition of education that is, has never worked, will never work, and should be abolished from the English language.

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

Silly me, I've always thought the best thing to do is teach both. 

Mickister
Mickister

"...we've watched several elderly male politicians state their understanding of how birth control works, explanations which often deserve bonus points for creativity."

A comment like this one doesn't work for me.  Does birth control being for women instead of men make them more likely to understand how it works than men?  Keep in mind that one of the old men running for president, Ron Paul, is actually an obstetrician. 

That said, as long as Republicans continue to conceive...er...think up dumb ideas regarding the governing of social values, the left is free to continue to pick the low-hanging fruit.

pak152
pak152

well let's see the definition of abstinence is "The fact or practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something." if Ms. Palin or anyone else truly practices abstinence then it works. Abstinence is not easy no one every said it was, but as someone else wrote we need to teach the kids both. .

I notice that even that regular sex education works because the teenagers are practicing what they are taught and getting pregnant.

I wonder what the level of STDs is amongst those under 18? does the sex education courses teach about them? are the STD infection rates falling, rising or staying steady

pak152
pak152

 huh-huh-huh that's just too too funny, you should be a comedian

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

"Does birth control being for women instead of men make them more likely to understand how it works than men?"

Well that idiot Ted Stevens believed the internet is a "series of tubes" so I'm not taking it for granted that they have a firm grasp on anything besides pandering for votes.

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Ron Paul also thinks birth control doesn't "create immorality." Rather, he says, it's the immorality that leads directly birth control use. Which is great medical advice.http://www.washingtonpost.com/...  

Ed D.
Ed D.

 Tip your waitress. Try the veal.

Mickister
Mickister

Oh, don't get me wrong.  Ron Paul is miles ahead of the GOP field on social issues.  Hell, he's ahead of a lot of Democrats on social issues -- I assume most of them find it politically prudent to be more conservative on social issues, especially ones regarding sex and sexuality, than their consciences tell them they should be.  I think Paul is for legalizing prostitution and other "radical" ideas with respect to sex and sexuality.

Still, my contention about your "elderly male" statement stands.  It was a cheap shot.

By the way, nice pic to go with the article.  Nothing works me up more than feminism and chastity belts.

jfpo
jfpo

Cheap shot? I thought she was rather diplomatic regarding those assholes.

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