NEW! Bad News in Britain for the "Safe Sex" Promoters
CDC's Birth Report and How Planned Parenthood Spun that Report
Teen Birth Analysis A Closer Look at the CDC Report of Increased Birth Rates
Using Current Events to Talk to Your Kids About Sex
Chastity Experts Present 'Modest Proposals' for College Campuses
More Evidence that Abstinence & Faithfulness are Working
Whole Person Health in Adolescent Education
Title V Funding…
BAD NEWS IN BRITAIN FOR THE “SAFE SEX” CROWD. After spending millions of pounds on contraceptives and morning-after pills in an attempt to reduce teen pregnancy in Britain, the government was forced to admit in December that the “safe sex” campaign is simply not working. The number of teen pregnancies and abortions rose since the move to make contraception ever more available and confidential (i.e. without parental consent).
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust charity, accused the government of normalizing under-age sex by the "systematic removal of every restraint that used to act as a disincentive… What we need is a radical change away from a culture which has reduced sex to a casual recreational activity."
[“Sex education failing to halt teen pregnancy,” The Telegraph, 12-31-2007, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml;jsessionid=BFKU1VGLX542BQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/12/30/nsexed130.xml&site=5&page=0;31Dec07, Abstinence Clearinghouse]
CDC REPORT & PLANNED PARENTHOOD REPORTING
REALITY: If the same number of teens became pregnant in 2006 as did in 2005, but fewer of those teens aborted their babies, the teen birth rate would increase.
In the last few days there have been articles online citing a 3 percent increase in teen births. In these same articles, you may have read that Planned Parenthood supporters claim it is due to the “failure of abstinence-only sex education classes.” We are here to tell you what the report actually said.
On December 5, the Centers for Disease Control released Births: Preliminary Data for 2006. It was a report on the number of births in the United States in 2006.
The data was broken down by age of the mother, her race and marital status.
Immediately, Planned Parenthood began using the report to push its agenda. On the same day the CDC report came out, Planned Parenthood sent out a press release that read, in part, “Today’s news underscores what Planned Parenthood and those who work tirelessly to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies already know too well: the United States is facing a teen pregnancy health care crisis, and the national policy of abstinence-only programs just isn’t working.”
It went on to say, “The United States still holds the dubious distinction of having the highest teen pregnancy rate among the most developed nations. It is time for everyone who cares about teenagers to start focusing on the commonsense solutions that will help solve this problem.”
Planned Parenthood’s sister organizations began echoing this doomsday rhetoric.
The problem is, the CDC report did not present any data on teen pregnancy rates. The entire report was on the number of births and birth rates (also called fertility rates). Nothing was mentioned about pregnancy rates.
What does the CDC report say?
The first line in the results section says: “The preliminary estimate of births in 2006 was 4,265,996, an increase of 3 percent from 2005, the largest single-year increase in the number of births since 1989, and the largest number of births since 1961.”
Then it states, on page 3, “The year 2006 marks the first year since 1971 in which the U.S. TFR [total fertility rate] was above replacement level.”
What does this mean? Well, it means that, in 2006, Americans decided to start having babies again. It’s only one year and we don’t know if it is an aberration or the start of a trend. But, for 2006, we had a healthy birth rate and, if it continues, the start of a bright future for our country’s population.
Planned Parenthood, of course, is a population control organization. It does not like the fact that more babies were born in 2006 than in any year since 1961. Babies being born are a failure for Planned Parenthood. How sad.
What about teen pregnancy?
The CDC report also contains data on births to young people, to teenagers. The report shows that births to 10-14-year-olds went down in 2006. But it also showed that births to 15-19-year-olds went up.
The report says “the preliminary birth rate for U.S. teenagers 15-19 years rose 3 percent to 41.9 births per 1,000 females in 2006, the first increase reported since 1991.”
Planned Parenthood seized upon this fact and the accompanying data and loudly proclaimed an increase in teen pregnancies “caused” by abstinence programs. The problem is that there is nothing in the report that backs-up that conclusion. Remember, we are talking about birth rates, not pregnancy rates.
Birth rates are affected by two things: the number of teens that become pregnant (pregnancy rate) and the number that have abortions. If the same number of teens became pregnant in 2006 as did in 2005, but fewer of those teens aborted their babies, the teen birth rate would increase.
The increased birth rates could be caused by effective pro-life activity.
By the good work of dedicated people who educate teens and stand outside Planned Parenthood abortion mills and give pregnant teens life saving alternatives. There is nothing in the report that confirms that, but there is also nothing that disproves it.
Planned Parenthood is trying to mislead the public here. It is trying to equate birth rates with pregnancy rates and hope nobody notices.
At every possibility, let people in your community know exactly what the CDC report says and what it did not say. Submit comments on various articles and blog entries online.
"Planned Parenthood and its supporters have really attempted to twist this study around. It is our responsibility to educate others on the truth, now that we understand what this study is actually saying." [12Dec07, STOPP Report]
TEEN BIRTH ANALYSIS. Two weeks ago I wrote about a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on preliminary birth rate data for 2006. The CDC's press release was headlined, "Teen Birth Rate Rises for First Time in 14 Years." Liberal groups responded by bashing abstinence education as a failure (when it is actually a success in need of wider implementation).
But the media missed the biggest and worst news in the report, which was not the tiny uptick in "teen births" (by 3%), but the explosive growth in total out-of-wedlock births (by 8%) to a new record high.
It is foolish to think that a birth to an unmarried 20-year-old mother is somehow of less concern to society than one to a married 19-year-old.
In fact, the percentage of all out-of-wedlock births which are to adolescents (17 or under) has continued a steady decline, while the percentage to adults (18 and over) continues to rise.
This suggests that the age group actually getting abstinence education (middle school and high school students) is doing better than their elders, despite our sex-saturated culture and Planned Parenthood-style, "if it feels good, do it with a condom" sex education.
Encouraging "abstinence until college" rather than "abstinence until marriage" will not help the millions of children being born to and raised by single mothers–who are nearly five times as likely to live in poverty as those raised by their married mother and father.
Chart comparing out-of-wedlock births [PDF]: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF07L27.pdf
[December 19, 2007, FRC's Pat Fagan Delivers on Teen Birth Analysis, FRC]
A CLOSER LOOK AT CDC REPORT OF INCREASED BIRTH RATES. various 'safe sex' spokesmen moaned when the CDC recently reported a small rise in teen births in the US. Of course, we’ll never get the news coverage of the indignant first responders, but a closer reading of the data reveals some important facts.
"First, the greatest increase in out-of-wedlock births was not among teens at all, but among those twenty-somethings well past puberty (25-29). Social scientists have also noted a significant trend toward childbearing among older women in cohabiting relationships, women in their 30’s and even 40’s.
"Second, did you hear about the decrease in births? No? Well, that took place in the youngest group—kids between 10 and 14 years old. Unlike the older group, these girls are much more likely to hear and absorb the abstinence message.
"Finally, Dr. Linda Flower [Texas Physician Resource Council] points out the link to overall birth rates: 'Interestingly, the timing of the data corresponds to the previous upsurge in teen births at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s just as these children are reaching child-bearing age. It is well known that children born to teen parents often repeat the cycle. What many of the news outlets failed to report is the overall increase in birth rate by 2% in the United States.
"The CDC stated that in various age groups the increase in birth rate tended to follow the actual increase in population in that age group. Although the CDC applied this reasoning to population groups over age 20, it failed to mention the same rationale for the lower age groups.'"
(Sources: “Unwed births shift to older, cohabiting couples,” USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-07-01-unwed-births-cohabitation_n.htm; News Release, Project Reality, 12-13-07, www.projectreality.org; “Teen Birth Rates are Rising: Texas Physician and Mother Responds,” Freemarket.org, http://www.freemarket.org/Legislature_Issues_Abstinence.aspx)[POSTED: 19Dec2007, www.abstinence.net, Abstinence Clearinghouse]
USING CURRENT EVENTS TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX. Recently, Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year old television star and sister of pop star Britney Spears, announced that she’s pregnant with the child of her 19-year old boy friend.
In response Gary L. Rose, M.D., President and CEO of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health released the following statement.“The Jamie Lynn Spears situation is a heartbreaking, and all too common, example of the circumstance in which many young people find themselves today. 20% of teens under 18 get pregnant within 6 months of starting on the pill, and 20% of teens under 18 get pregnant over a period of 1 year using condoms. In addition, the lower the age of sexual debut the greater the increase in lifetime partners, and consequently the greater the risk for STIs.”
Age of Sexual Debut Average lifetime partners
12 and under 20+
“In the days ahead Jamie Spears will need the loving support and encouragement of those around her. For the parents and young people watching, the Medical Institute for Sexual Health would like to encourage them to take note, the problem of teen pregnancy is one that can impact us all.”
5 Tips for parents on how they can use the Jamie Spears story to talk with teens about sex:
1. Talk a
bout the news: The Jamie Spears story is a hot topic that will interest almost every teen.
2. Role play: Ask your child what they would do if they were in Jamie’s (or her boyfriend's) shoes.
3. Discuss the impact: Ask your teen how and in what ways they think this will change Jamie’s life.
4. Discuss prevention: Ask your teen how this situation could have been prevented.
5. Offer your opinion: Research shows that teens want to hear what their parents have to say about sex. Offering a clear standard will help guide their decision making.
[21Dec07, The Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MI) identifies and evaluates scientific information on sexual health and offers products and resources that equip parents, educators and young people for lifelong healthy living.]
CHASTITY EXPERTS PRESENT 'MODEST PROPOSALS' FOR COLLEGE CAMPUSES. Packing the meeting room at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) in Washington, D.C., 13 November 07, more than 75 policymakers and college officials gathered for "Modest Proposals" a lively discussion about student sexuality by an all-star panel of authors on sex and chastity.
The event was conceived by Dawn Eden, director of the CNS Love and Responsibility Program, to help educators and policymakers take a broader look at the problems of sexual activity on college campuses. The audience included officials from secular colleges including George Washington University and The American University, along with a range of Washinton policymakers and opinion leaders.
Washington Post reporter Laura Sessions Stepp opened the event with a "Report from Campus" drawing upon information she collected during her years of research for her book Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both.
Dr. Miriam Grossman, a campus psychiatrist at the University of California-Los Angeles and author of Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student, detailed the substantial physical and psychological health risks students face from sexual activity. She also told how campus administrators often ignore and thereby perpetuate the problems…
Mary Rose Rybak, managing editor of EPPC's journal The New Atlantis, moderated a one-hour panel on "Personal and Practical Solutions". Panelists Wendy Shalit, author of A Return to Modesty and Girls Gone Mild; Cassandra DeBenedetto, founder of the pro-chastity student club The Anscombe Society at Princeton University; and Eden discussed creative ways that colleges can promote chastity adn uphold student's human dignity.
Afterwards, Eden noted, "A major part of the Love and Responsibility Program's directive is to engage experts in assessing the breadth of the problems caused by colleges' failure to promote chastity. Likewise, the program seeks experts' input in developing programs to arm colleges with the resources they need to educate their students on how chastity will benefit them physically and emotionally. With 'Modest Proposals', we fulfilled that goal not only by uniting some of the top minds in the field, but also by bringing the mission of Love and Responsibility to a wider audience."
A video of the "Modest Proposals" program will be posted for free viewing at the website www.cardinalnewmansociety.org. [Winter 2007, Mission, CNS]
MORE EVIDENCE ABSTINENCE AND FAITHFULNESS WORKING. When rates of non-marital sex go down, HIV rates have consistently followed, according to continuing research by two Harvard public health experts.
According to Edward Green and Allison Herling Ruark, Uganda, the most famous example of the success of positive behavioral change, has been joined by six other countries who emphasize sexual abstinence and faithfulness. "In almost all cases, we've seen the rate of premarital sex going down significantly. And condom use can either go up or down or stay the same. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference," Green said.
Ruark stressed the role played by adults in controlling the AIDS epidemic: "What's really fueling HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa is not young people having sex. It's adults having sex with multiple partners and the creation of sexual networks where HIV can spread like wildfire.”
(Source: “AIDS in Africa: Behavior change leads to HIV decline,” BPNews.com, 11-30-07, http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=26930)
[Posted: 19Dec07, www.abstinence.net, Abstinence Clearinghouse]
WHOLE PERSON HEALTH IN ADOLESCENT EDUCATION: Abstinence educators, print out this highly useful statement on Whole Person Health in Adolescent Education by The Educational Guidance Institute. It supplies insights into the rationale for teaching abstinence until marriage as a desirable social norm and is based on recognizing the integrated nature of human beings, which includes sexuality.
A Statement by the Educational Guidance Institute
Concern for the whole person is a well established feature of health education programs. The California State Board of Education, for instance, defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” According to the New York State Department of Education, the discipline of health “focus[es] on the development of the whole person.” The Montgomery County, MD School Board offers a more detailed account of the areas with which health education must concern itself: “To effectively address current health problems it is important to overcome the perception of health as being merely physical . . . Students must broaden their perception and view health as being multi-dimensional and dynamic. Health includes five dimensions: physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, and emotional. All five dimensions contribute to the total well-being of the individual.” The ambitious goals of health educators around the country have certainly resulted in innumerable benefits for American students in many areas of their formation.
It is the contention of abstinence educators that education in sexuality should be no less ambitious in adhering to a whole person standard. The key to integral sexual health is for students to recognize that the sexual act is not merely a physical act. Rather, it also has implications in the intellectual, social, ethical and emotional realms. In the health classroom, students should have access to the vast body of scholarship which demonstrates the significance which the sexual act has in each of these realms.
The detrimental effect of casual sex on one’s emotional health has been the subject of much recent research. Bonding hormones released during the sexual act, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, cause feelings of deep affection and trust for the other person. This provides a biological explanation for the
emotional turmoil which results from the break-up of a sexual relationship. Evidence on the biological level is substantiated by empirical studies demonstrating a causal connection between teenage sexual activity and depression. These hormones, in turn, flood the brain and compromise the intellect’s ability to make good decisions in the future regarding sexual activity. There is also some evidence that the brain is affected in other areas. Studies have shown that students who are sexually active do not perform as well academically, regardless of whether they are using contraception.
The sexual act, then, has considerable import for the physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects of the self. The body is wired to communicate a message during sexual activity, both to one’s self and one’s partner: namely, this is someone I can trust and to whom I can make myself radically vulnerable, both emotionally and physically. When this dynamic is coupled with an unstable, rather than a permanent relationship, it should come as no surprise that one’s social health is compromised. Indeed, thorough research has verified the detrimental effect that casual sexual encounters have on one’s ability to form lasting relationships in the future, particularly within the context of marriage.
Finally, it has long been a concern of the schools, and indeed, seen as an important component of a student’s health, to foster character growth and an ethical outlook on life. There is no reason that this aspect of the person should be overlooked in the sex education classroom. A teenager who is engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners could be spreading diseases without even knowing it. A young man engaging in sexual activity with a young woman puts her at risk for a difficult and often traumatic event: namely, dealing with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Beyond these more obvious physical effects, the reality of how a casual sexual encounter affects the whole person should be seen as having a deep ethical significance. The young man or woman who invites such an encounter compromises the total well-being of both parties. If a student is disposed to compromise another person in this manner, educators should seek to guide him or her to a higher ethical standard.
The debate between “abstinence education” and traditional “sex education” is often framed in this way: should the teacher emphasize the success rates of contraception in order to encourage their use, or the failure rates of contraception in order to discourage risky behavior altogether? The problem with this question is that it dismisses the innumerable risks of teenage sexual activity for which there is no protection. The human person is simply not wired for casual sex. The practice of withholding this information from students is a deeply troubling one. Moreover, any honest account of human sexuality will make the student aware of the positive effect that the sexual act has on the person within the context of marriage. Only the whole person understanding of human health provides the framework for such a discussion.
When applied to sex education, the whole person approach to health provides an opportunity for an open, honest, and complete discussion of human sexuality. By communicating a broader and deeper significance to the sexual act, it gives teens a truly compelling justification for abstaining from sexual activity until marriage.
1. California Department of Education, Health Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade, 2003, chp. 1, p.3, www.1busd.k12.ca.us/curriculum/Curriculum%20Services%Health%20Ed/healthframework2003.pdf, date of access 8 March 2007.
2. University of the State of New York: State Education Department, Health, Physical Education, Family and Consumer Resource Guide, Introduction, p. 2, www.emsc.nysed.gov/guides/health/partI1.pdf, date of access 8 March 2007.
3. Montgomery County Public Schools, Health Education: Philosophy, www.mcps.k12.md.us/curriculum/health/phil.htm, date of access 7 March 2007.
4. See for example Times Online, Sexual Attraction: the magic formula, 28 May 2006, www.timesonline.co.uk/article /0,,2104-2190254.html; and Emory Medicine, Love and Sex: the vole story, Summer 1998.
5. Denise D. Hallfors, et.al., Which Comes First in Adolescence—Sex and Drugs or Depression? American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 29.3 (2005): 163-170.
6. Robert Rector and Kirk A. Johnson, Teenage Sexual Abstinence and Academic Achievement, 27 October 2005, www.heritage.org/Research/Abstinence/whitepaper10272005-1.cfm.
7. See for example Jay Teachman, Premarital Sex, Premarital Cohabitation, and the Risk of Subsequent Marital Dissolution Among Women, Journal of Marriage and Family 65 (May 2003): 444-455; and Tim Heaton, Factors Contributing to Increasing Marital Stability in the United States, Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2002): 392-409.
8. See for example F.S. Christopher & S. Sprecher, Sexuality in marriage, dating and other relationships: A decade review, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62.4 (2000): 999-1017.
[19Dec07, Abstinence Clearinghouse]
TITLE V FUNDING. The next step in the process for both CBAE and Title V funding has been completed. The Omnibus Appropriations package which includes $115 million for CBAE has cleared the House, and is now on its way to the President's desk for signature. We anticipate that he will sign the package relatively quickly because the bill includes supplemental funding for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
S. 2499, the Medicare Extenders package which includes a 6 month extension of Title V through June 30, 2008 has also cleared the House. This bill is also now on its way to the President's desk for signature. [19Dec07, The National Abstinence Clearinghouse]