Jim writes on
Bush Lies About Sex
What the Bush administration says about sex makes Bill Clinton look like a choir boy.
The administration of George W. Bush has been pushing abstinence-only based sex education programs. Our federal government has given grants of $170M to different groups for use in 2005. A House of Representatives report found that "80% of these programs contain false, misleading , or distorted information."
While the feds don't review these programs, they should. They are granting money to organizations to teach this crap. This is typical of the GWB administration - provide the means for someone else to do the dirty work and pretend to remain hands off so that accountability does not come back to the administration.
First, some choice excerpts from the report to congress
United States House of Representatives
Committee on Government Reform - Minority Staff
Special Investigations Division
...[One of the curriculum] tells students: "Ten to Twelve Weeks After Conception:...He/she can hear and see." The curriculum cites a source that actually states, "Can the fetus see inside the uterus? We do not know." [ed - Cites a reference to support a point. Looks official, but in fact the source does not support the point.]
...In numerous instances, the abstinence-only curricula teach erroneous scientific information. One curriculum incorrectly lists exposure to sweat and tears as risk factors for HIV transmission. ... In fact, according to the CDC, "[c]ontact with saliva, tears, or sweat has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV."... [ed - Just ignore the scientific facts.]
...[T]he curriculum misleadingly puts the CDC data in a new chart called "Percent HIV Infected" and scrambles the CDC data in a way that suggests greatly exaggerated HIV rates among teenagers. For example, where the CDC chart showed that 41% of female teens with HIV reportedly acquired it through heterosexual contact, the curriculum's chart suggests that 41% of heterosexual female teens have HIV. It similarly implied that 50% of homosexual male teens have HIV. [ed - They have an anti-gay agenda and they will misuse any data at all to further their homophobic cause. Shame.]
... For example, one curriculum tells youth that a long list of personal problems - including isolation, jealousy, poverty, heartbreak, substance abuse, unstable long-term commitments, sexual violence, embarrassment, depression, personal disappointment [etc] - "can be eliminated by being abstinent until marriage." [ed - What thinking adult person would believe these lies? Yet they teach them as fact to teenagers.]
[ed - conclusion:] These curricula contain misinformation about condoms, abortion, and basic scientific facts. They also blur religion and science and present gender stereotypes as fact.
So the bru-ha-ha has begun. Senator Bill Frist, Majority Leader, goes on the Stephanopoulos news show and is asked about this terrible misuse of government funds. Frist knows which end is up - my God, the man is a practicing physician. Yet, he tries to deflect the questions and to avoid saying that these programs have some very clearly wrong information in them.
Why couldn't he just say, "yes, some of the information has been found to be incorrect and we are going to have it corrected"? If he had, the whole thing would just blow over. Is Frist so worried about alienating the far right Christian Fundamentalists, that he feels he has to evade the issue? Or could it be that the Bush cabinet has made it clear to congressmen - never admit something is wrong unless the Whitehouse has given the ok?
Some of the most incredible transcript:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS : (Off Camera) ...there was a report by the minority staff at the House Government Affairs Committee that showed that 11 of 13 of these programs are giving out false information. I want to show some of the claims they identified in the curricula. One of them was, one of the programs taught that "The actual ability of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, even if the product is intact, is not definitively known." Another, "The popular claim that condoms help prevent the spread of STDs is not supported by the data." A third suggested that tears and sweat could transmit HIV and AIDS. Now, you're a doctor. Do you believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?
SENATOR BILL FRIST : I don't know. I can tell you ...
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS : (Off Camera) You don't know?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS : (Off Camera) But do you think these abstinence programs should be reviewed and that they should be required to give out scientifically accurate information?
SENATOR BILL FRIST : Oh, I think of course they should be reviewed, I mean, and that's in part our responsibility to make sure that all of these programs are reviewed but whether it's abstinence or whether it's condoms or whether it is better education on the infectivity of how washing hands in terms of the flu, all of these are public health challenges that we need in terms of better education, yes, the government has a role, especially if we're gonna be ...
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS : (Off Camera) Let me just, I wanted to move to another subject, let me just clear this up, though. Do you or do you not believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?
SENATOR BILL FRIST : It would be very hard. It would be very hard for tears and sweat, I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat but in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard.
I don't believe teens should be sexually active. I wish teens didn't need pregnancy counseling. However, I know that these young adults need factual, accurate information for them to use.
These kids are not all stupid. Most will eventually discover this "education" to be lies. At that point they may lose faith in the rest of their educational system and in government and society as a whole. What jobs could these new adults possibly hold in society besides being a Bush administration scientist?
This is no way to educate the future electorate.
Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)