mo_charles is mistaken about several things:
"i don't get the paranoia. nobody i know wants church and state
"United"? Perhaps not - but there are many who think that religion
should be _part_ of the American political system. Haven't you
noticed the battles over the Ten Commandments being posted in
"nobody i know wants sex ed to be entirely abstinence"
It only took a short search on "abstinence education" to determine that
the Bush administration and other Republicans truly believe in it. I
have pasted an article on the subject at the end of this post.
"science texts replaced by genesis"
See current news for the Dover, PA school district and recent news for
the state of Kansas. At present, most of the ID effort seems to be
getting ID taught _in addition to_ evolution in schools, but that's
just a start.
" - evironmental laws are stronger today than they've ever been AND
Very funny - did you really believe that the "Clear Skies Initiative"
was about improving air quality? Ha! Ha! Ha! In any case, the Bush
admin has gutted enforcement of the laws that we do have by placing
industry lobbyists in positions of authority over their own industries.
"why would the extreme leftwing try to convince you something exists in
strength when it doesn't?"
Why does the extreme right wing try to convince you something does not
exist when it clearly does?
The Effectiveness of Abstinence-Only Education
The Administration has changed sex education performance measures to
produce the appearance that scientific evidence supports
President Bush has consistently supported the view that sex education
should teach "abstinence only" and not include information on other
ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. White
House Spokesperson Ari Fleischer has asserted that "abstinence is
more than sound science, it's a sound practice . . . . [A]bstinence
has a proven track record of working."
In pushing an "abstinence only" agenda, however, the Bush
Administration has consistently distorted the scientific evidence about
what works in sex education. Administration officials have never
acknowledged that abstinence-only programs have not been proven to
reduce sexual activity, teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted
disease. Instead, HHS has changed performance measures for
abstinence-only education to make the programs appear successful,
censored information on effective sex education programs, and appointed
to a key panel an abstinence-only proponent with dubious credentials.
Over the past three years, Congress has appropriated over $100 million
in grants to organizations that sponsor abstinence-only education. In
November 2000, under the Clinton Administration, HHS developed
meaningful, scientifically sound outcome measures to assess whether
these programs achieved their intended purposes, including the
"proportion of program participants who have engaged in sexual
intercourse" and the birth rate of female program participants.
In late 2001, however, the Bush Administration dropped these measures
and replaced them with a set of standards that does not include any
real outcomes. Rather than tracking pregnancy or sexual activity, these
measures assess attendance and the attitudes of teens at the end of the
education program, including the "proportion of participants who
indicate understanding of the social, psychological, and health gains
to be realized by abstaining from premarital sexual activity."
Such standards are not scientifically valid. A 2001 review of
scientific evidence concluded that "adolescents' sexual beliefs,
attitudes, and even intentions are . . . weak proxies for actual
behaviors." That is, even if teens pledge to remain abstinent,
they may not actually do so. According to a major HHS-funded report,
two "hallmarks of good evaluation" in programs designed to reduce
teen pregnancy rates are evaluations that "[m]easure behaviors, not
just attitudes and beliefs" and "[c]onduct long-term follow-up (of
at least one year)." However, the Bush Administration's
standards for measuring the success of abstinence-only programs contain
no reports or assessments of actual behavior or health outcomes and do
not require any minimum followup period.
The result is that the performance measures appear constructed to
produce the appearance that scientific evidence supports
abstinence-only programs when, in fact, the best evidence does not.
"Programs That Work"
Until recently, a CDC initiative called "Programs That Work"
identified sex education programs that have been found to be effective
in scientific studies and provided this information through its web
site to interested communities.
In 2002, all five "Programs That Work" provided comprehensive sex
education to teenagers, and none were "abstinence-only."
In the last year, and without scientific justification, CDC has ended
this initiative and erased information about these proven sex education
programs from its web site.
Appointment to CDC Committee
The Bush Administration appointed a prominent advocate of
abstinence-only programs, Dr. Joe McIlhaney, to the Advisory Committee
to the CDC's Director. This committee is charged with providing
advice on "policy issues and broad strategies for promoting health
and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and
disability." Dr. McIlhaney was appointed to this prestigious
position despite the fact that in 1995 the Texas Commissioner of Health
under then-Governor George W. Bush questioned his professional
[M]any of the items in [Dr. McIlhaney's] presentation [on sexually
transmitted diseases] are misleading and are quoted incompletely . . .
. The only data which was reported in the presentation are those which
supported his bias on the topics he addressed. Intellectual honesty
demands that he present all the data.
As recently as April 2002, Dr. McIlhaney asserted in congressional
testimony that "there is precious little evidence" that
comprehensive sexual education programs are "successful at
all." This assertion, however, is inaccurate. A 2001 review found
that comprehensive sex education programs that both encourage
abstinence and provide information on contraception have been shown in
scientific studies to delay the onset of sexual activity and can result
in greater use of potentially life-saving condoms and other
 See, e.g., White House, President Discusses Welfare Reform and Job
Training (Feb. 27, 2002) (online at
 White House, Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer (Jan. 27, 2003)
(online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/
 D. Kirby, National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Emerging
Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, at 88
(May 2001) ("[T]here do not currently exist any abstinence-only
programs with reasonably strong evidence that they actually delay the
initiation of sex or reduce its frequency").
 65 Federal Register 69562-65 (Nov. 17, 2000).
 These new measures are:
· Proportion of program participants who successfully complete or
remain enrolled in an abstinence-only education program.
· Proportion of adolescents who understand that abstinence from sexual
activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy and
sexually transmitted disease.
· Proportion of adolescents who indicate understanding of the social,
psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from
premarital sexual activity.
· Proportion of participants who report they have refusal or
assertiveness skills necessary to resist sexual urges and advances.
· Proportion of youth who commit to abstain from sexual activity until
· Proportion of participants who intend to avoid situations and risk,
such as drug use and alcohol consumption, which make them more
vulnerable to sexual advances and urges.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SPRANS Community-Based
Abstinence Education Program, Pre-Application Workshop (Dec. 2002)
(online at http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/adolescents/
 D. Kirby, supra note 3, at 78.
 National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Get Organized: A Guide
to Preventing Teen Pregnancy, 136 (Sept. 1999) (online at
 CDC, Programs That Work (archived version online at
 CDC, Programs That Work (online at
http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash/rtc/) ("Thank you for your interest
in Programs that Work (PTW). The CDC has discontinued PTW and is
considering a new process that is more responsive to changing needs and
concerns of state and local education and health agencies and community
 CDC, Secretary Thompson Appoints Nine to CDC Advisory Committee
(Feb. 20, 2003) (online at
 Letter from Dr. David R. Smith, Commissioner of Health, to Mr. Tom
E. Smith, Executive Director, Medical Institute for Sexual Health (Jan.
 Testimony of Dr. Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., Subcommittee on Health,
Committee on Energy and Commerce, Welfare Reform: A Review of
Abstinence Education and Transitional Medical Assistance, 107th Cong.,
51 (Apr. 23, 2002).
 D. Kirby, supra note 3, at 171 ("[A] number of programs that
discussed condoms or other forms of contraception and encouraged their
use among sexually active youth also delayed or reduced the frequency
of sexual intercourse").