Abstinence and the Left
Why does the New York Times hate teen abstinence?


Robert Rector

Alarmed by a recent well-publicized study showing that abstinence education succeeded while “safe sex” and “comprehensive” sex-ed programs failed, the Left has abandoned its “abstinence doesn’t work” claim and drawn up a new line of defense.

Consider what the New York Times had to say. According to its editorialists, the newly evaluated abstinence program succeeded because it was “freed from the moralistic overtones and ideological restrictions” of prior abstinence education.

You can bet that anyone who pontificates about “moralistic overtones” in abstinence education has never held an actual abstinence curriculum in his hands, let alone read one.

Why does abstinence education come under unending, if completely uninformed, attack? In part, because abstinence was strongly associated with the Bush administration — and anything tied to Bush has always been fair game to liberals.

In addition, real abstinence curricula teach three things that are anathema to the sex-education lobby running things in Washington, D.C.

First, abstinence programs teach that teens should abstain from sex until they have at least finished high school. Ninety-one percent of parents agree. But the “comprehensive” sex-ed programs promoted by House Speaker Pelosi and President Obama teach that it’s okay for teens to have sex as long as they use a condom. Only 9 percent of parents agree.

Second, abstinence curricula teach that sex should be linked to “love, intimacy, and commitment” and that these qualities are most likely to be found in marriage. Again, 90 percent of parents support this message. But the Left is appalled at “privileging” marriage over casual relationships, cohabitation, or “hooking up.” The “ideological” message of abstinence has to go!