Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

November 22, 2005

Three types of abstinence?

I've written often about the Cucumber People in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live. These are the proponents of the sex-ed curriculum that includes a video explaining how to put a condom on by demonstrating its use on a cucumber. The curriculum resulted in a lawsuit that focused on a controversial teacher's guide discussing homosexuality.

Today's topic is sex ed, but not cucumbers.

The Rockville Gazette has a front-page article describing some interesting information in the sex-ed curriculum at county schools:

The county school system is re-thinking its definition of sexual abstinence after complaints from two parents that their children were receiving incorrect and even risky information in sex ed classes.

Karen Sees and Cindy Richards said the "contraception comparison chart" used in eighth-grade health class at Herbert Hoover Middle School describes three types of abstinence: No intercourse, withdrawal (ejaculation outside of the body) and rhythm (no intercourse during ovulation).
Call me old-fashioned, but in my day, we abstained by abstaining. A lot of kids I knew would have been delighted to learn that they could have abstained by having intercourse.

The two complaining parents point out the problem:
"Since when did the term abstinence change to include the two most ineffective forms of birth control possible?" said Cindy Richards of Potomac. "Here we have been teaching our kids that abstinence means not having sex, period. What kind of message is this [chart] sending?"
I take it that's a rhetorical question, and I hope Ms. Richards knows the answer, although Montgomery County parents, while highly educated, are often incredibly dumb about sex.

But there's another problem, too: If abstinence includes withdrawal and "rhythm," girls can get pregnant through "abstinence." Hardly what the proponents of abstinence education had in mind.

In case you were wondering what Planned Parenthood said about this, they said: "The schools should add a fourth type of abstinence: elective abortion, preferably without the parents' knowledge." Ha, ha, only kidding, I think. What Planned Parenthood actually said was this:
"Abstinence is when you’re not having sex, as simple as that," said Wendy Royalty of Planned Parenthood.
And will wonders never cease? The Catholic Church is on the same side as Planned Parenthood. Maybe we've reached the time when the lion will lie down with the lamb, the testosterone-raging teenaged boys will lie down with the hormone-crazed teenaged girls, and . . . abstain.