The Post Article (The Washington Post on Waxman's report)
Posted to Vigilance blog on 12.2.04, by Jim Kennedy

As noted in the previous post, this morning's Washington Post has a front page article that addresses the fraudulence of many "abstinence" programs that receive federal funding. These are programs, favored by the current administration, that focus on teaching students the importance of abstaining from sex until marriage, rather than informing them about sex.

Unfortunately, because these programs are intended to indoctrinate rather than educate, they seem to have a tendency to deviate wildly from the facts:

Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.

Those and other assertions are examples of the "false, misleading, or distorted information" in the programs' teaching materials, said the analysis, released yesterday, which reviewed the curricula of more than a dozen projects aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

In providing nearly $170 million next year to fund groups that teach abstinence only, the Bush administration, with backing from the Republican Congress, is investing heavily in a just-say-no strategy for teenagers and sex. But youngsters taking the courses frequently receive medically inaccurate or misleading information, often in direct contradiction to the findings of government scientists, said the report, by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), a critic of the administration who has long argued for comprehensive sex education.

Several million children ages 9 to 18 have participated in the more than 100 federal abstinence programs since the efforts began in 1999. Waxman's staff reviewed the 13 most commonly used curricula—those used by at least five programs apiece.

The report concluded that two of the curricula were accurate but the 11 others, used by 69 organizations in 25 states, contain unproved claims, subjective conclusions or outright falsehoods regarding reproductive health, gender traits and when life begins. In some cases, Waxman said in an interview, the factual issues were limited to occasional misinterpretations of publicly available data; in others, the materials pervasively presented subjective opinions as scientific fact. Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says.

This article exactly identifies the reasons that Montgomery County citizens need to fight back against the extremists who want to throw out the current, fact-based, sex education program in favor of one that preaches their own point of view.

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