help fight abstinence-only nonsense

Teenagers like sex; that right there is a basic, ineluctable fact of human nature. They like it the way they like, you know, breathing, and telling them it’s bad and dirty won’t help anything. Threatening them with lakes of fire and disapproval and excommunication might make them feel bad, and if you’re a certain kind of grubby Christianist1 moralizer that might make you feel good, but it won’t stop the teenagers from making like the sex-crazed monkeys they are, every chance they get.
So you don’t have to agree with me that sex is good and fun and wholesome, and teenagers (and adults and pensioners and dogs and chickens, though not all in the same bed) should get as much of it as they want, to agree with me that abstinence-only sex “education” is a worthless crock of shit. Rep. Henry Waxman recently commissioned an investigation which found that

…over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two-thirds of SPRANS (Special Programs of Regional and National Significance Community-Based Abstinence Education) grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.

Today NARAL sent me email about an amendment put forward by Sen Frank Lautenberg that ensures that “federally funded “abstinence-only” programs teach only medically accurate information”. It’s S. Amdt. 2269 but you can’t read it on Thomas for a day or so (printing delay or some such). I do want to read it, because there are plenty of ways to weasel out of a commitment to “medically accurate information”, but it’s a start. NARAL has made it easy for you to send a letter to your representatives in support of Sen Lautenberg’s amendment. Here’s mine:

Abstinence-only programs will receive $168 million in federal funding this year. This is an unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars.
Quite apart from scientific inaccuracies, factual errors (or, you know, lies) and rampant misogynism, it is plain that abstinence-only advice is utterly ineffective.
Teenagers are going to get busy; you know it, I know it, the kids know it. Only a narrow-minded, repressed, moralistic right-wing fringe lunatic who prefers rising rates of teenage pregnancy and STD to admitting this basic fact of human nature, would deny the kids the information they need to stay safe and healthy.
It’s critical that you join with your colleagues to review and correct these programs. Please contact Rep. Inslee or Rep. Crowley to join their efforts.

1By analogy with “Islamist”, and distinct from anything that might properly be called “Christian”.


I’m swiping this transcript from For The Record, just because I want it on my site. Em nau.1
Mr. Reid:
Thank you very much, Mr. President. Just a couple of days ago, my son Lief called me and indicated that his lovely wife Amber was going to have another baby. That will be my –? our 16th grandchild. Mr. President, I have thought about that, and I have to say that I’ve been in public service a long time.
Never have I been so concerned about our country. We have gas prices that are really unbelievable. This year they’ve been over $3 in the state of Nevada. Diesel fuel is still over $3 a gallon in Nevada. The majority leader of the House of Representatives is under indictment. The man in charge of contracting for the federal government under indictment.
Deficits, Mr. President, so far you can’t see them. The deficits have been basically run up by President Bush’s Administration these last five years. We’re the wealthiest nation in the world but we are very poor as it relates to health care. We have an intractable war in Iraq. Is it any wonder that I’m concerned about my family, my grandchildren
This past weekend, we witnessed the indictment of L. Lewis Libby, the Vice President’s chief of staff, also on the President’s staff, a senior advisor to the President. Mr. Libby is the first sitting white House staffer to be indicted in 135 years. Is it any wonder, Mr. President, that i’m concerned about my grandchildren?
This indictment raises very serious charges. It asserts this Administration engaged in actions that both harmed our national security and were morally repugnant. The decision made to place united states soldiers, our military into harm’s way I believe is the most significant responsibility the constitution vests in the Congress and in the President. The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this Administration manufactured and manipulated Intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions.
Mr. President, these are not just words from Harry Reid. Larry Wilkerson, Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff — Colin Powell, of course, was Secretary of State. This man was his chief of staff for four years. Here’s what he said about the war in Iraq.
“In President Bush’s first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. National security, including vital decisions about post-war Iraq, were made by a secretive, little-known cabal, was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But the secret process was ultimately a failure. It produced a series of disastrous decisions.”
That’s what I’m here to talk about today, Mr. President. As a result of its improper conduct, a cloud now hangs over this Administration. This cloud is further darkened by the Administration’s mistakes in prisoner abuse, hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies throughout this Administration.
And unfortunately, it must be that said a cloud also hangs over this Republican-controlled Congress for its unwillingness to hold this Republican Administration accountable for its misdeeds on these issues. During the time that we had a Democratic President, eight years, and when the Democrats were in charge of the Committees, we were in the majority, oversight hearings were held covering the gamut of what went on in this Administration — that Administration. Today there is not an oversight hearing held on anything.
Let’s take a look at back how we got here with respect to Iraq. The record will show that within hours of the terrorist acts of 9/11, senior officials in this Administration recognized those attacks could be used as a pretext to invade Iraq. The record will also show that in the months and years after 9/11, the Administration engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who got in its way as it made its case for attacking, for invading Iraq.
There are numerous examples of how the Administration misstated and manipulated the facts as it made the case for war. The Administration