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teens
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COMMENTARY

Sex Education: What Are Your Kids Really Learning?

Courtesy of BreakPoint Online
with Charles Colson

CBN.comRecently Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine made a decision that must have Planned Parenthood officials dancing in the streets: He cut off state funding for abstinence-based sex education programs.

Why would Planned Parenthood be so happy about this? Because they were the ones who urged Kaine to do it. But the objections of the country's biggest abortion provider to abstinence programs are proof, in a sense, that these programs really do work.

Kaine's communications director said the governor believes that the state should fund sex-ed programs that talk about contraceptives. She also said that Kaine "wants to see us funding programs that are evidence-based."

As a Planned Parenthood spokesman helpfully added, "There is no evidence that abstinence-only programs equip teens with the education they need to delay sexual activity" and prevent pregnancy and the spread of disease.

Nonsense: There is abundant evidence that these programs work, and work well—including a study that took place right in Virginia under the governor's nose. This study, conducted by the Institute for Research and Evaluation, concluded that Virginia teens who receive abstinence education are half as likely to initiate sexual activities as students who did not receive this education. And contrary to what Planned Parenthood suggests, Virginia's abstinence programs do include information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. But they put it in the proper context: that abstaining from sex is the only way to avoid the dangers of casual sex.

Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, notes that "when teens are taught how to build relationships and set boundaries they choose to abstain."

These are skills teenagers themselves say they want. One survey of 1,000 sexually active teenage girls found that what they want most is to learn how to say "no."

Too many adults today accept adolescent sex as normal and inevitable. They are oblivious to the fact that teens who engage in sex often regret it. These kids learn the hard way that sex is more than a physical act: As God designed it, sex also brings about an emotional closeness—which means teens pay a high emotional price when the relationship is over.

The folks at Planned Parenthood are working hard to shut down abstinence-oriented sex-education programs. And that's not surprising: After all, if teens do not have sex, Planned Parenthood will not make as much money aborting their babies and treating their diseases.

Virginia State Senator Ken Cuccinelli says he will lead efforts to get the General Assembly to reverse Kaine's decision in January. If you live in Virginia, urge your representatives to re-fund abstinence-based education.

Christians in every state should find out what schools are teaching teens about sex. If they are simply teaching kids how-to, then Christians ought to do an end-run around the schools and offer programs that teach kids how-to—build relationships, that is, and set healthy boundaries. Christian teens can invite their friends to come.

Our kids should not have to pay the price for adult foolishness—or political agendas. They have a right to be given the truth: that the people who are happiest about their sex lives are those who reserve it for marriage.

From BreakPoint, Copyright 2007 Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500." Heard on more than 1000 radio stations nationwide. For more information on the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship visit their web site at http://www.breakpoint.org.

This commentary was delivered by PFM President Mark Earley.

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