Teen Abstinence ‘Benefits’ Society and Economy, Indianapolis Star Editorial Says
The expansion of abstinence-only sex education programs, along with federal dollars to fund those efforts, will result in "social and economic benefits" across the nation, according to an editorial in the Indianapolis Star. The editorial gives "three cheers" to Newsweek and other media outlets that "recognize, however belatedly, that there might be something more effective than the safe-sex school of thought" (Indianapolis Star, 12/9). Newsweek's Dec. 9 cover story profiled six teens from across the country who reported choosing to abstain from sex (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/3). According to the Star editorial, comprehensive sex education has netted "a miserable catalog of promiscuity, disease, illegitimacy and chronic dependency on welfare." President Bush's promise to triple the amount of federal funds spent on abstinence-only programs is "a crux of the battle over administration policy on sex and teens," and the United States should heed the "message that self-respect and self-control are character traits that can be taught," the Star concludes (Indianapolis Star, 12/10).
Abstinence Education Tells Teens 'Half the Story,' Columnist Says
The AIDS epidemic in Africa can serve as a "cautionary tale" to the United States of how "denial and wishful thinking" can "contribute to [HIV's] spread here," according to an opinion piece by Florida Times-Union columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee. A "lack of comprehensive sex education" leaves "most" teens lacking basic information about sexually transmitted diseases, which can "make them more vulnerable" to HIV, Weathersbee writes. Although abstinence education "can lead to fewer kids having sex," it creates a sense of denial "in which too many people want to save teenagers' innocence at the cost of risking their lives," according to Weathersbee. "Examples of that kind of denial can be found in all-too-frequent instances in which girls have denied their pregnancies up until the time they give birth in the high school toilet, or abandon their newborn in bushes," she writes. Weathersbee concludes that abstinence-only education gives teens only "half the story," and that Africa, where AIDS is "laying waste to the continent like locusts," should serve as a "stark reminder as to why it's important to end the denial and to get real" (Weathersbee, Florida Times-Union, 12/9).