Although abstinence-based sex education is becoming less popular among education and public health advocates, the one group that remains unwavering in support of it is parents.
Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Foundation, writes in The Washington Examiner that President Obama can't proclaim himself to be a supporter of giving parents more of a voice in how their kids are educated and at the same time cutting funding for abstinence programs that many consider to be vital to their children's long-term health.
That an abstinence education supporter is a religious lunatic is a common stereotype employed by those who support comprehensive sex-ed, says Huber, but the reality is much more nuanced. Huber cites a recent survey that shows that supporters of abstinence-based sex ed span religious, ethnic, racial and even political lines, counting among them Hispanics, African-Americans, Christians, Jews and even those who plan to pull the lever for President Obama this November.
Still, despite its popularity, Obama is pushing aside the teaching of abstinence for programs that Huber believes ignore the risks inherent in sexual intercourse even when condoms are used.
In New York City, "comprehensive" sex education became mandatory this year. According to the New York Post, one assignment in a workbook recommended by the city's Department of Education sends students to stores to take notes about condom brands and lubricants. In other parts of the country, comprehensive sex education programs advocate showering together as a no-risk activity, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study.
Huber writes that if President Obama and other Democratic leaders think that only Republicans care about sex ed, then the results of a recent survey commissioned by her organization will prove to be a surprise. Out of 1,683 parents who answered the questions posed by Pulse Opinion Research on NAEF's behalf, 8 out of 10 who self-identified as Democrats supported teaching ob abstinence in schools. 90% didn't feel that condoms should be presented as being 100% effective in stopping sexually transmitted diseases and wanted their risks explained to the students.
Shattering other misconceptions are the findings that 60% of Democrats oppose defunding of abstinence-based sex-ed programs, and 90% of African-American parents would like their children to wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse. Furthermore, parents believe that children would benefit from delaying intercourse regardless of their sexual orientation.
In their responses to this survey, parents opened a window into their views on abstinence education. Whoever wins the November presidential election would be wise to listen more to parents on this issue, who care more about their children and less about the special interest groups pushing misleading sex-education agendas.