Don’t Like Abortion? Then Support Sex Education.

Don’t Like Abortion? Then Support Sex Education. September 5, 2014

There’s a reality disconnect within the pro-life community. They reject abortion while they also reject the solution to abortion, sex education. Is abortion an American Holocaust, as Ray Comfort claims? If so, then join forces with the pro-choice camp and teach teens how to avoid it!

Being against abortion but rejecting sex education is like being against deaths through unclean water but rejecting sewer systems.

Here’s an excellent infographic on sex education. Pass it on.

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Sometimes you feel like you don’t even have words
to be able to describe how amazing it was,
how awesome it was to see God manifest his power.…
God is bigger even than science.
— staffer at Decatur, GA church
where a man’s life was saved
by EMTs

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 2/24/12.)

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  • MNb

    It’s sad.

  • Kodie

    I’m confused about the factoid “over 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended.”

    Every 2 minutes 3 teen pregnancies, up to 20% of that is 432 per day intend to get pregnant. Is that intended by both partners or just the woman? And … that’s also a problem.

    Isn’t it?

    • Annerdr

      Some of them may be married. However, yes, there are the teenage girls who “just want something to love” and who don’t think “get a puppy” will answer that need for them. It’s a big enough concern that I’ve explained to my son why he should never, ever leave it to the girl to handle birth control unless he wants that girl to have control over his future.

  • Dys

    If people don’t like abortion, they should be supporting comprehensive sex education and low-cost (or free) contraceptives. If you don’t actually support things that are going to cut down on abortion rates, you’re not pro-life, you’re just pro-birth.

    • You know, they believe the only solution should be “Chastity!”
      With proper sex-ed and affordable contraception, how could these Christian folks scaremonger their children, then?

      • Kodie

        They’re dependent on lust and lack of options so they can harvest the unwanted pregnancies to serve their infertile Christian couples.

      • Esquilax

        Slight correction: they believe the solution to be chastity… for women. Funnily enough you rarely see much focus on the men in these moralizing theistic arguments.

        • True: and even men’s “sexual sin” is often blamed on women as well!

        • MNb

          Well, what do you expect when maintaining a Bronze Age way of thinking?

        • That’s what you see in the Old Testament as well–a man can do whatever he likes with Mr. Happy as long as it doesn’t infringe on another man’s rights. A woman … not so much.

  • In Italy, we have been having the same discussion for years…
    Whenever someone claims that the Catholic Church should support sex-education at least as the “lesser evil” when it comes to prevent abortions, often some Bishop or a Catholic parents’ association rants about their unwillingness to “water down the Gospel and its radical message”, to “accept compromise with the world”, and yada yada yada…
    I wish they could extend their self-professed “radicality” to more deserving issues…
    Ultra-liberism, social inequality, un-democratic regimes? Anyone?

    • MNb

      Well, that’s religion for you. Reality should adapt to the belief system, not the other way round. If it can’t be done, screw reality. Of course that’s not radicalism but idealism that goes back to Plato.

    • Pofarmer

      Maybe not covering up for priests fucking kids would be a good start. That’s radical.

  • $28895381

    “Out of every 1000 teen girls, 62 give birth to a child.”

    What do the other 938 give birth to?

    • Kodie

      They don’t. The graphic is saying 62 out of 1000 is the highest rate of teen moms. The other 938 do not give birth because they’re not pregnant (by whatever means).

    • hector_jones

      A future.

    • Greg G.

      I never thought of that. The aliens are taking over. 8o)

      We can stop them by preventing pregnancy in those 3 teens who get pregnant every two minutes.

      • hector_jones

        A Republican solution would be to redefine a minute to make it much smaller, thereby decreasing the number of teen pregnancies that happen every two minutes.

  • purr

    Sweet citations, bob. I am arguing with yet another right wing whackjob who believes that abstinence works

  • JT Rager

    Yeah, it’s definitely doublespeak.

    “Millions of babies have been slaughtered because of abortion!”
    “That sounds like it really bothers you. Would you do anything to stop it?”
    “So why don’t you promote birth control and contraceptives?”
    “Because there are better ways of eliminating abortion that don’t prevent new life from happening”

    Suddenly, abortion’s evil plummets, and it is not so evil that they won’t do anything to stop it, including the most useful, demonstrable methodology. It’d be like if you wanted to remove criminals from the public sphere, but didn’t want to incarcerate them because you don’t want to infringe on their personal freedom.

    • purr

      Good point JT Rager.

      If abortion is genocide…actual horrible, terrifying’d think they’d promote things that will lower the genocide rates yeah?

    • Esquilax

      A lot of the people that think like that- mistakenly!- believe that birth control is just another form of abortion, an earlier form. They don’t care about the actual science behind it as much as they care about their intuitive, ill informed opinions, so despite being factually incorrect they are actually consistent within the context of the unreality that they don’t live in, but would prefer we all live in.

  • Al

    Abstinence “doesn’t work”. If a person doesn’t engage in sex how many diseases, unwanted pregnancies and abortions will that person experience?

    • Greg G.

      Catholics claim at least two pregnancies with abstinence. Abstinence is great unless you have normal urges. It works better in theory than it does in practice. That’s what the statistics above show.

      • Al

        Help me out. How could abstinence not work in practice? If you don’t do it you won’t get pregnant, diseased, or death. Right?

        • Dys

          It’s like you intentionally misread everything…

          Absitinence doesn’t work in practice because sexuality is a normal, everyday part of the human condition. And abstinence-only sex education doesn’t work because it relies on scare-mongering and in some cases outright lying instead of actually educating.

        • Al

          What???? How can one suffer the negative effects of sex if they never do it?

        • Dys

          Reading comprehension. You need it. The graphic is clearly referring to abstinence-only sex education, which doesn’t work.

        • smrnda

          Because almost everybody who pledges to be abstinent ends up having sex anyway.

          Since only a trivial % of people end up being abstinent, even among those who pledge to do so, the plan clearly is never followed, so it’s a bad plan, since it’s only as good as its TYPICAL USE.

          In the real world, ideal use doesn’t matter. Typical use does. Since the typical use is a fail, then the plan is a fail.

        • Al

          How do you know that “almost everybody who pledges to be abstinent ends up having sex anyway”?

          Your assuming almost everyone is “doing it” when the reality says otherwise.

        • Kodie

          Were you homeschooled? I can’t think of a good reason why you can’t read or understand reading or statistics.

        • smrnda

          We have actual data from real studies on this topic. This was the first google hit I got about how abstinence pledges do not work.

          The reality agrees with me. Almost everybody is doing it. The % of people who are not doing it is trivial.

        • Esquilax

          So did you just… like, not read the infographic, or did you forget it by the time you got to the comments? Because it’s actually kinda hilarious that you’re making this argument right below an array of statistics that demonstrate that abstinence-only education leads to higher rates of teen pregnancy and STD contraction, meaning that at the very least abstinence has no effect, and that it definitely isn’t as effective at keeping people safe than actual comprehensive sex education.

        • Kodie

          Because they had sex, you dummy. They planned poorly.

        • Also, often this pressure to avoid pre-marital sex brings with it other unhealthy attitudes, such as reducing any contact – including the most innocent ones – between boys and girls; imposing “modest behaviour” – mainly on girls only; and, in the most extreme cases, getting to arranged marriages!
          You don’t need to think of India or Saudi Arabia: American fundagelical circles provide awful examples enough.

        • smrnda

          A plan is only as good as its typical use.

          If I develop an acrobatic martial arts system which is too hard to do in a real self-defense situation, no matter how good it works *in theory* it is useless.

          If I have a workout plan that requires more time than the average person has, no matter what kind of results it gets, it’s not a good plan because it only works for people with no other responsibilities. Yes, spending 8 hours a day in a gym will get great results, but if an average person can’t commit to that, my plan is useless.

          If I have a diet plan that requires eating lots of expensive and hard to find foods, no matter how well it works if practiced it’s not a good plan since it isn’t feasible for most people.

          Since almost nobody who intends to be abstinent does so, the plan is bad since it’s obviously never applied.

        • Kodie

          Just because you’re used to being abstinent doesn’t mean it’s that easy all the time for everyone else.

        • MNb

          It may work for you as an individual. It won’t work for lots of horny folks simply because they can’t maintain the struggle against their natural needs eternally. This is something christianity itself recognizes: the flesh is weak.
          So you don’t even understand what you believe yourself. Good job, Al.

        • I guess it’s not (just) a “flesh-is-weak” matter: the point is that in our society most people do not stick to the notion of “pre-marital purity” anymore, as in their opinions it doesn’t make sense; they don’t say “I tried to stay pure but I failed”, they say “Why should I even bother?” instead.

        • Kodie

          I think with teens it’s different. If you are a girl and you’re taught purity and abstinence especially, you’re not being taught a lot else about what happens and how it happens. You’re just taught to be scared of boys and be suspicious of what they want, or whatever. You’re kept in the dark about valid feelings of new puppy love and how to trust people and stuff. No, I wouldn’t say it’s about “why should I even bother.” It’s that one time you got too caught up, because the feelings are new, etc. They tell you that sex is for marriage only, but they don’t tell you that when these rules were set in stone, girls didn’t have careers and were married off in their late teens at the latest when they became fertile and therefore horny (not that their husbands would care about the arousal or satisfaction of their property). Religion expects people to adjust to the changing times and wait until they’re 25 or more, or stick with the ancient traditions and deny their daughters a college education.

        • smrnda

          I’d add to that – puberty starts around 12 or 13, and most people are not realistically in a position to get married until their mid-20s. That’s a solid decade or more of having sexual desires without being able to do anything.

          It’s probably not hard for a person with normal sexual urges to go a month without sex, but years on end?

          And anyone who suggest early marriage, the stats on that are not very good.

        • MNb

          Ha! Finally I can disagree with you. Even in Victorian England and Russia people did not stick to the notion of “pre-marital purity”. Only nobility did and then only the women. The men went to whorehouses.

        • You’re right! 🙂
          Well, let’s say that maybe present-day people, women and men alike, are more open about their rejection of this notion.

        • Kodie

          I think neither one of you knows what it’s like to grow up as a girl in the US. Even if you’re not brought up within “purity culture”, these messages get through to the culture at large. Never mind what women and men are like in this day and age, I thought this was about teens and sex-ed, that is, people with very little outside experience in the dating world, and just what happens at school or their town or in their families. The culture tends to impress certain messages on girls’ worth being tied to her innocence and deference to a guy, and this is attitudes from childhood that lead into adolescence and bear on sexuality when you get to that, either in life or school. Sex is one thing out of many attitudes, but it can look like every lesson is a metaphor for sexuality if you examine them. So, yeah, I am and I think the post is still talking about minors, the inexperienced, and the messages they receive conflicting with what they want to do.

          It is a generality, not saying every girl is kept in the dark and patriarchied to submission, but the “rejection” of this notion when it’s just new to them and echoing the lessons learned from their whole short life thus far, it is not really on the table.

        • MNb

          I’m very sure that I don’t have any idea what it’s like to grow up as a girl in the USA, because 1) I’m not a girl and 2) never even have set foot in that country.
          Still this

          “these messages get through to the culture at large.”
          is crystal clear to me.
          That’s because I take women seriously too, even if I have doubts. Link:

          The women smile and are dressed tastefully – as if they try to please. The research was done – you won’t be surprised – by a woman. The comments contain a lot of “explaining away”. I have committed myself unconditionally to science though and can only conclude that your comment also applies to The Netherlands.

        • Kodie

          You may be able to tell from men what their general attitudes are toward women. Boys are also taught their role and how to perceive girls and women by the same images and messages. You may have heard of “rape culture”. I read an article probably in the HuffPo that I’m not going to look up now, but it was about a girl in kindergarten. What had happened was she would build something and some rotten boy in class would wreck it. It became an issue as it upset the girl, and the message she was getting repeatedly was that was just how boys are; that’s how he shows that he likes you; and don’t make a big deal and defend yourself against the boy. And not too much idea to approach the boy’s parent and ask could he be trained to stop being such a dick, you know, kids will be kids, boys will be boys, they grow out of this stuff. But what would happen if the same boy was wrecking something of another boy in the class instead of this girl,or another girl, or every girl?

          Anyway this was paralleled with rape as it is a message we get when we’re very young and it’s ingrained and accepted in the culture. Boys do not get taught to stop this shit and girls are taught not to make such a big deal and get the boy in trouble.

        • MNb

          Fortunately this attitude towards toy wrecking and rape has largely changed in both The Netherlands and Suriname. But regarding this

          “Boys are also taught their role and how to perceive girls and women by the same images and messages.”

          I’d say both countries have a long way to go as well.
          My main point though is how easy it is to take such things for granted. Without the research done by Melis I never would have been aware of the fact that and how those pictures confirm stereotypal gender roles.

        • Al

          Christianity does teach abstinence. The flesh is weak so don’t put yourself in a position where you might do something you will regret.
          Anytime you divorce sex from morality you will run into serious problems.

        • Kodie

          Christianity teaches you to regret things you might otherwise be happy to do, because of money. How much money are you paying this organization for the privilege of being their mouthpiece?

        • smrnda

          We secular people don’t divorce sex from morality, we just reject your morality and substitute a different one.

          My morality is that consensual sex is okay, and non-consensual or exploitative sex is wrong.

          This means that I accept unmarried people having sex as morally okay, as long as nobody is being forced or is coerced. I accept that teenagers will have sex as a realist and I have a moral duty to protecting teenagers from bad consequences of anything they do.

          On top of that, many people reject your sexual morality and are just fine.

        • MNb

          “The flesh is weak so don’t put yourself in a position where you might do something you will regret.”
          Exactly! Hence use contraceptives. Then you can avoid such positions.

          “Anytime you divorce sex from morality you will run into serious problems.”
          Exactly! That’s why education is so important. Kids need to learn that sex is not the same as love and that it’s OK to say no. If you say yes though and don’t want to make a baby take the appropriate measures.

          “Christianity does teach abstinence.”
          That measure doesn’t work, as the data show.

        • Kubricks_Rube

          If the goal is preventing unwanted pregnancies, you need to compare perfect use to typical use when determining the effectiveness of a contraceptive method, not just discount anyone who fails to use your preferred method faultlessly.

    • Dys

      The graphic is referring to abstinence-only sex education.

    • evodevo

      It doesn’t work if it isn’t used. It isn’t used by most humans. Therefore it’s a total waste of taxpayer dollars.

    • Niemand

      Abstinence may work for a given individual, assuming he or she can use it consistently, doesn’t get raped, and doesn’t mind an increased risk of dying of a number of chronic illnesses which have higher mortality in single people than in married or partnered people. However, abstinence only education leads to a high rate of unintended pregnancies, STDs, and other suboptimal outcomes. Therefore, it can safely be said to not work on a population level.

    • Sven2547

      Whenever you learn about contraceptive techniques, there are two statistics you must learn:
      Optimal use: If you follow the method perfectly, this is the chance it will work.
      Actual use: In the real world, people are imperfect. This is the actual statistic of pregnancy-avoidance among people trying to use that method.

      In the case of abstinence, yes: the optimal success rate is 100%. The actual success rate is less than that, because some people fail.

      Bristol Palin is a great example. Like a good conservative Christian girl, she took an abstinence pledge. Then she got pregnant. If it were truly 100% effective, that would be impossible.

      • Helpful vocab, thanks.

        Don’t think that’ll even dent Al’s armor, though. I’m sure we’ll see, “Yeah, but abstinence is 100% effective!” from him within the month.

  • If you accept the insane first premise that sin is the primary concern and that the purposes of governmental policy should be to minimize sin, then the crazy logic of the Christian traditionalists make sense. Since to them an abortion = someone jerking off = someone having pre-marital sex = a theft = a failed keeping of the sabbath = etc, since sin is sin, then sex education is wrong because it leads to more tallies of sins occurring out of weight to the abortions that it prevents.

    But then my head is hurting from trying to live in their freaky mental world.

    • purr

      Exactly. It is all about maintaining moral purity

  • Jim Ruwaldt

    It’s obvious their concern isn’t poorly timed pregnancies but people having sex, particularly people they don’t want to have sex, specifically women and minorities. While some of them are trying to get boys more active in “purity” culture, they’re still focusing on the girls. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have such disgusting spectacles as father-daughter purity balls.

  • Shaun G. Lynch

    Bob writes: Being against abortion but rejecting sex education is like being against deaths through unclean water but rejecting sewer systems.

    Wrong. Being against abortion but rejecting sex education is like being against deaths through unclean water, but rejecting filtration systems.

    Being against deaths through unclean water but rejecting sewer systems is like being against abortion but rejecting higher minimum wages, universal single-payer healthcare, extensive parental leave, subsidized daycare, etc., i.e. the things that exacerbate the problem after the fact.

    If you’re really concerned with “saving unborn babies,” address the real problem: unwanted pregnancy! You do that by preventing pregnancy in the first place (sex education), but also by making it economically feasible to care for unborn babies after they’re born.

    (Note to conservative Christians: unborn babies who actually manage to be born are called “babies” and later “children.” Focus enough effort on ensuring that parents can effectively care for them, and you eliminate a major motivator for abortion.)

  • Sophia Sadek

    The essential basis of slavery is for one person to control the body of another person. Control over sexuality could be considered the core of the slave system. Keeping people ignorant about controlling their own sexuality gives more control to those who seek to dominate the bodies of the uninformed.

  • juliadesouz

    Perfect education to be given to all the school going students and teenagers,Also know more about abortion information from

    • And if a woman wants to have an abortion, does this organization assist her in that process?

  • purr