Written by: Joe McIlhaney, MD, founder of Medical Institute for Sexual Health
Last month I showed two significant errors in the proposal for sexuality education that Planned Parenthood, The University of Hawaii, Hawaii Youth Services Network and other organizations and individuals are attempting to dictate to all public school students in Hawaii. Now I will show the distortions they use to justify their claim that Hawaii must institute their program—of course, according to them, for the good of all the children of Hawaii. The startling thing is that Planned Parenthood and other such groups have been using these same techniques of manipulation ever since I have been involved in the sexuality education issue beginning almost thirty years ago. (WOW!)
As I discuss these six contortions of the truth, I will use the Hawaiian experience as an example. And after the example I will explain why their argument fails to justify imposition of their program that would be a direct challenge to the health and morality of the majority of not just Hawaiian families but potentially of families all across America.
DISTORTION—Hawaii has one of the highest pregnancy rates in the nation (and by the way, we find that in almost every venue that Planned Parenthood is trying to impose their sex ed, they use this “line”.)
THE TRUTH–Even one unmarried teen pregnancy is too many but the teen pregnancy rate in Hawaii has been dropping dramatically, down 58% since 1991 and down 11% just since 2012. This would support the idea that whatever Hawaii is doing for teen pregnancy prevention, it is good and successful and should be changed only with the greatest care.
DISTORTION—Essentially all high school students will be having sex by the time of graduation (again, for years, regardless of the statistics, these people constantly bombard, especially, parents with this—obviously to make them feel guilty if they don’t accept their program)
THE TRUTH—Nationwide stats show that the majority of kids in high school are still virgins. And in Hawaii, the numbers are startling. Only 35.9% of Hawaiian high school students have ever had sex. So, again, whatever is happening in Hawaii in guiding students to choose the healthiest lifestyle, sexual abstinence, it is good and should NOT be changed except with the greatest study, consideration and care.
DISTORTION—Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) works. I call it So Called Comprehensive—because in our years of study of these programs, they are never honest about the effectiveness of condoms and contraceptives (more about this in a minute)
THE TRUTH—These programs are urged on a community BECAUSE, as we have pointed out, pregnancy rates (and sexually transmitted disease) rates are so high. Yet, and we have looked carefully at these programs, not one has statistics showing a significant decrease in sexually transmitted disease. And according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, of 28 CSE (so called) programs, only one impacted pregnancy rates for more than 12 months (only one other had any such impact and that impact lasted less than 12 months)
DISTORTION—Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) programs (sometimes called “abstinence” programs) do NOT work
THE TRUTH—Excellent statistical studies (Lickona, et al) have shown that contrary to what the CSE (so called) people constantly “parrot” a number of these programs are highly effective in actually affecting teen sexual activity. Lickona highlighted eight programs that cut teen sexual activity by an average of about 50%. And that the changes lasted for a significant period of time in the lives of these children. And STI and pregnancy rates are directly proportional to the level of sexual involvement adolescents are involved in
DISTORTION—Essentially all unmarried adolescents are going to have sex while they are still unmarried adolescents BUT that is OK because condoms and contraceptives make sex safe enough.
THE TRUTH—This is actually one of the most infuriating out and out lies these people tell. First, the CDC and most other national health groups clearly state that if condoms are not used every time, with every act of sex (consistently), it is as though they are not used at all. BUT, and here is the big lie, even when they are used consistently the risk of infection from most sexually transmitted diseases is still about 50% of what it would have been if no condoms were used at all (called “relative risk”). This applies to, for example, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and human papillomavirus
And for HIV, though there is better protection (about a 14 % risk of what the risk would have been if no condoms were used), still this is an extremely dangerous lifelong disease.
And for anal sex and oral sex, though those people strongly advocate condoms and dental dams for this activity, there are no studies showing either effectiveness or ineffectiveness.
DISTORTION—Anyone opposed to CSE programs is a right wing religious nut opposed to “sex.”
THE TRUTH—The majority of American parents, regardless of race or political party, support sexual risk avoidance type education, endorsing all the major themes presented in such classes. For example ¾ of parents are opposed to premarital sex both in general and for their adolescents. And the attitudes of adolescents themselves support this -93% of teens in high school say it is important to be given a strong societal message that they should abstain from sex until they’re at least out of high school
As I mentioned earlier, I have been involved in studying the statistics on these issues for almost 30 years now. These distortions have been being used to manipulate parents and public groups all these years. The truth is so clear and shows what is the most healthy behavior choice for young people and that, actually, both they and their parents want this encouragement. I suppose it is important to keep “the truth” in front of people. New generations and “new kids” keep coming and besides, the essence of teaching and learning is “repeat, repeat, repeat. And we never mind doing that. It is in our hearts and souls because we love kids and we love their parents and we want what is BEST for them.