Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Side-Effects of Abstinence-Only Education

One in three teenage girls in the US becomes pregnant. Recent media hype and movies like Juno give teen pregnancy a certain kind of treatment.
If sex education impacts the rate at which men impregnate teenage girls, then these results are effects. Calling them side-effects is equivocation.
RE: Side-Effects? / Posted by: MildGreens on Jul 7, 2008 2:36 PM
The appearance of prejudices fails to do justice to the debate. Men impregnate woman, true enough, but woman can only be impregnated by men.

The inference that men are DOING THIS to teenage girls carries baggage, firstly because it misrepresents the facts and secondly it stereotypes men.

Teen pregnancy AND STD's is for the greater part a teen issue for BOTH males and females.

Both suffer consequences.

It represents a larger systemic failure in health promotion as evidenced by the bio-psychosocial health indicators in jurisdictions where age of consensual sex is much lower.

Where the rules say 'you just cant, its not allowed' (ie: zero tolerance with disproportionate punishment) the harms are maximised. With rules like these we may as well line them up and shoot some of them arbitrarily.

Intolerance sets up failure as 'proof we have a problem, justifying more inevitable failure'. The corollary with youth drug policy is also useful in this case.

There are impediments to [sex ed and other stuff] health promotion, the Ottawa Charter (the bible of Public Health) says where these can be identified, remove them.

There is no place for artificial red-lines in the dynamics of teen angst. This creates a climate dishonesty and mistrust that masks what is really going on. It creates a perception of safety without delivering.

The teen health data correlated to age of consent makes for revealing reading.

The 'shocking' (ie moral panic) driven data set is completely unsurprising to educators who think about this problem. It is almost a determinate outcome. We, by 'doing nothing' to change the policy base are guilty of creating the problem we set out to solve. We are as it were, collectively responsible making girls pregnant. And that requires an adult maturity to 'see'.

Ipso facto, teen pregnancy is a symptom of a larger problem adults as instruments of change are just not talking about.

Thus, it is more accurate to say older Men AND Woman are making teens pregnant and saddling teens AND society with unnessary burdens.

We have to, as adult rule makers, realise no policy is going to solve all the problems and that an optimal policy has to embrace harm minimisation in a reality based education paradigm.

Those for whom this reality check is objectional... are witness to the harms they are creating and the evidence, in this case, is on my side.

To get significant change one has to make significant change. It is long overdue.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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