Why Johnny Can't Breed - An Abstinence-Only Fairy Tale genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

Back in 1955, Rudolf Flesch, author of the book Why Johnny Can't Read, took issue with the latest trend in teaching children to read. Rather than learning phonics, students were simply being taught to recognize words and Flesch argued that the practice left them ill-prepared for the unknown. In other words, when confronted with unrecognized words, they lacked the ability and the tools to succeed.

Under the auspices of the Bush administration, children are being similarly handicapped with regards to sex education. Rather than provide children with the knowledge and the tools to confront their emerging sexuality, the president and his faith-based followers insist upon spending huge sums of money on programs that teach abstinence-only.

New data and testimony offered to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests that we're reaching the point at which we must explore "Why Johnny can't breed...without transmitting an STD or getting Jane pregnant".

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Programs teaching U.S. schoolchildren to abstain from sex have not cut teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases or delayed the age at which sex begins, health groups told Congress on Wednesday.

"Vast sums of federal monies continue to be directed toward these programs. And, in fact, there is evidence to suggest that some of these programs are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active," Dr. Margaret Blythe of the American Academy of Pediatrics told the committee.

These programs, backed by many social conservatives who oppose the teaching of contraception methods to teenagers in schools, have received about $1.3 billion in federal funds since the late 1990s. Currently, 17 of the 50 U.S. states refuse to accept federal funds for such programs.

Experts from the American Public Health Association and U.S. Institute of Medicine testified that scientific studies have not found that abstinence-only teaching works to cut pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases or the age when sexual activity begins.

Comprehensive sex education programs should emphasize abstinence as the best way for a teenager to avoid pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), Blythe said.

Lawmakers cited government statistics showing that one in four U.S. teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease and 30 percent of U.S. girls become pregnant before the age of 20.

Panel chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said, "We are showering funds on abstinence-only programs that don't appear to work, while ignoring proven comprehensive sex education programs that can delay sex, protect teens from disease, and result in fewer teen pregnancies."

"Meanwhile, we have no dedicated source of federal funding specifically for comprehensive classroom sex education," Waxman added.

Frankly, this insistence on offering abstinence-only education while resisting comprehensive sex education is another example of religious ideologues ignoring solid scientific evidence. This policy comes from the same president who is willing to pour trillions of dollars down the drain to fund a war that appears unlikely to resolve at any time in the near future. It just goes to show that the application of an absolutist template to matters of reason and rationality will frequently result in flawed judgments.

Further demonstrating the tendency of this president to apply absurd and arbitrary logic, he is seeking to cut 13 billion dollars from Medicaid spending for the poor. I guess he's seeking to assuage his legacy of unbridled deficit spending...and by all means...it's best to do so at the expense of the poor. After all, that's both compassionate and conservative, right? Fortunately, Congress rejected his efforts by what appears to be a veto proof margin.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

WASHINGTON - The House voted yesterday to block the Bush administration from cutting federal spending on Medicaid health care for the poor by $13 billion over the next five years.
President Bush has threatened a veto, but supporters have more than enough votes in the House to override him, and maybe in the Senate, too.

Two-thirds of the Republicans joined every voting Democrat in the 349-62 vote to impose a one-year moratorium, through next March, on seven rules changes the administration argues are needed to rectify waste and abuse in the state-federal partnership to provide health care to the poor.

Supporters of the bill said the rules would merely shift financial burdens to the states at a time of economic distress while reducing access to health care for the country's neediest people.

The governors of all 50 states, state Medicaid directors, and others oppose the rules, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D., Mich.) told the House. "They know the devastating effects these rules would have on local communities, upon hospitals, and upon vulnerable beneficiaries."

The White House, in a statement Tuesday warning of a veto threat, said the House bill would "thwart these efforts of the federal government to regain fiscal accountability and integrity in Medicaid."

I find it truly amazing that this president routinely chooses programs designed for those most in need to demonstrate his fiscal bonafides. He's willing to spend billions on unproven abstinence-only education but caring for the basic health of the poor just can't be justified. Such actions are not only hypocritical; they demonstrate the inherent lack of logical cohesion that has typified this president's tenure.

With that in mind, I thought I would have a little fun at the expense of science challenged Christian compassionate conservatives. The following graphic includes an updated book cover titled "Why Johnny Can't Breed" as well as my list of the top ten guidelines required to provide Johnny with proper abstinence-only training.

WhyJohnnyCan'tRead.jpg

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