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Naivete

22 Apr

When I was in college, a friend learned that her 12-year-old cousin impregnated his 13-year-old girlfriend. When I was 12-13 I could barely even make eye contact with a boy; the idea of sex could not have been further my mind. I was still embarrassed if people kissed on television when I was watching with my parents. I was naïve, as children that age should be. My children are nearly that age now. Every day I wish for my children to be like I was, and not like my friend’s cousin. But we still have “the talk”. It is embarrassing for everyone, but it must be done.

A few weeks ago I read that my state senate passed a bill requiring that ND sex education teach only one method- abstinence. (http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/45331/). Even now, several weeks later, I am disgusted by this news.

Do these people in the Senate really think an abstinence-only education plan is truly going to stop kids from choosing to have sex? Well, obviously they do because they passed the bill. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Teenagers are having sex, whether we want them to or not. I agree that educating kids about abstinence is important. But so is safety. They need to understand the consequences of the things they do, and they need to know how to protect themselves if they make the decision to have sex.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not an advocate of teen sex. I am terrified for my kids to get older, because the time will come when they think they’re ready for sex. I hope with all my heart that they choose to abstain from sex for as long as possible. But I also hope that when they do become sexually active, they are well informed and take all the necessary steps to be as safe as they possibly can.

Cars are dangerous too. But do we teach our kids that the only way to be safe is not to drive? No! We do what we can to teach them how to drive safely, and how to protect themselves from others on the road who are not safe. Now obviously I recognize that driving a car and teen sex are not the same, but my message is the same – education is essential. You cannot prevent teen pregnancy by pretending it doesn’t exist, especially when the media is doing its very best to glamorize it with shows like “Teen Mom” & “16 and Pregnant.”

To put the entire burden of sex education on the parents is irresponsible, because it is clear that some parents are simply not willing or able to have this conversation with their kids.

Every single person who voted for this bill should be ashamed.

_______________________
For those who wish to read the bill in question: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/documents/11-0467-01000.pdf [note: this is not the final version of the document; since this blog was posted the document has been revised several times. The most current version, as of 5/14/2011 is: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/documents/11-0467-06000.pdf]

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6 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

6 responses to “Naivete

  1. JoAnna

    April 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

    It’s interesting that you include a link to the bill in question, because it doesn’t say what you claim it does.

    What it says: “Beginning July 1, 2012, each school district shall ensure that its curriculum for health includes the exposure of students to abstinence-based concepts, including that…” (emphasis mine)

    I’m sorry, but I don’t get how that translates to “a bill requiring that ND sex education teach only one method.”

    It says that the curriculum MUST INCLUDE this information, not that it must be solely comprised of said info.

     
  2. Kari

    April 23, 2011 at 8:23 am

    JoAnna- I actually didn’t realize I had made this post public; that’s what I get for editing my blog late at night. I admit I haven’t fully researched the bill yet, because I just found the link yesterday and was only able to read the first page of the bill from my phone. I wrote that the bill is an abstinence-only bill because that is what was claimed in the local newspaper articles I had read so far (one of which is linked above).

     
    • karifur

      April 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Upon doing some further research, I found that the page I linked to was not even the most current draft of the bill. I still have not been able to find a reliable explanation of the bill, and the language of what I read was pretty vague, in my opinion.

       
      • JoAnna

        April 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

        Maybe contact your legislators directly and ask for clarification?

         
  3. Jenel

    April 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    As of April 22, the bill is in committee to reconcile the House & Senate versions, which is why a final version is not available at this time. The latest version under consideration reads:

    Beginning July 1, 2012, each school district shall ensure that its curriculum
    for health has as its objective to teach the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity. …

     
    • Jenel

      April 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      please note the words “as its objective” … it falls just shy of mandating abstinence-only but at the same time has nearly the weight of making it so. It opens the door to legal challenges on the appearance of a focus on anything other than abstinence ONLY

       

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