Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cristina Page & the "Pro-Life Paradox"

Cristina Page at the Huffington Post offers a partisan punch in favour of the 'Pro-Choice' movement, her thesis: shift the debate from abortion to prevention. She has some interesting numbers (and we all know about statistics), but I dare say that she may not have done enough "opposition research" at least in regards to abstinence programs.

Intriguing quotes:

11% of sexually active women don't use contraception and from this 11% comes 50% of the nation's abortions.

That 11% amounts to roughly amounts to 19million women who don't use contraception and while that percentage is amazing there's still another 685,000 abortions performed annually (of the 1.37 million a year) and...

The "pro-life" paradox appears everywhere its policies are in place. School districts in the conservative South are almost five times more likely than in the liberal Northeast to teach abstinence-only. Southern states also have the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS infections, the highest rate of STDs, as well as the highest rate of teen births. Whereas new cases of AIDS decreased or remained constant in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the South alone experienced an increase.

tell us something we didn't already know, though she doesn't say if the approaches show any difference in the volume of actual sexual activity amongst teenagers from region to region.

I wonder if she means by comprehensive programs programs that are inclusive of contraception and abstinence, are they mutually exclusive ways of communicating personal (sexual) health? Can you teach both? Catholic teaching aside, I'm inclined to believe that knowledge is power and an informed person is more likely to make the more informed decision and not have sex if they're aware that they're are just as many consequences from engaging in an act that is all at once physical, emotional, and psychological and when shared with another person is more than the simple pleasantries of an orgasm. Remember the pill, if taken properly*, is only 99.9% effective, and condoms don't prevent the spread of HIV and prevent pregnancy.

Mr. Obama seems more in tune with the approach I've outlined. And what's even more is the notion that he pushes that parents are first and foremost responsible for their children in more ways than just being a source for the roof over head, the clothes on their back, and the food in their stomach. Many times he's told families education (and that's not specifically about sex-ed!) is not something that can or ever will be the sole responsibility of the government and has on multiple occasions chided parents for shirking their duties to teach their children whether it's the three Rs or a sense of morality.

Just food for thought on this Wednesday afternoon.

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Gashwin said...

From what little I know of this area (and it's little), the programs are presented as mutually exclusive.

I don't see much, if anything, in the standard, contraceptive sex-ed stuff that promotes the idea of sex as something more than the "pleasantries of a shared orgasm." (And, in so much sex [um, heterosexual sex], it's probably doubtful it's even that.)

I don't know about the studies, but my intuition is that an absitence-only approach in a culture that otherwise throws sex-as-recreation messages to kids all around, won't work.

Even in the rural, conservative South, because these messages are there, on TV, in the Internet, and, I suspect, part of the teen rebellion against parental/cultural authority.

But yeah, why is there more teen pregnancy in the rural South? [The county I'm in, has the highest reate of teen pregnancy in Georgia. And, until recently, Georgia was one of the highest in the nation ... ] More non-contraceptive sexual activity? Perhaps.

How about ... lower number of teen abortions? The nearest abortion mill is about 70 miles away. GA also has a parental notification law (notification, not permission), and a rural, conservative culture is actually a lot more supportive of pregnant teens giving birth, than one might thing.

Don't know if that's enough to make then numbers all add up ...

And finally ... just a jab at the rhetoric of that post: is it about reducing abortions or births? :)

Gashwin said...

Um scratch that. Late night fuzzy thinking on my part: birth rates and pregnancy rates aren't the same thing.

Mattheus Mei said...

would you care to clarify then? I'm a little confused as to what you're saying...