Skydiving With Nothing But a Helmet

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 28, 2008 10:02 PM
Here is YouTube footage of Nancy Pelosi speaking to the Netroots Nation,
impugning the idea of teaching children to abstain from sex as a "radical right wing view."

I've written before about the harmful and false dichotomy that people like Nancy Pelosi try to create between "abstinence education" and "comprehensive sex education."  It's perfectly possible to inform young people about how their bodies work, where babies come from, and the existence of contraceptives while still teaching them that sex is something for adults -- for people who are mature enough to cope with the (often unexpected) emotional, psychological and physical ramifications (including the possibility of an STD or unwanted pregnancy) that can accompany sexual activity.

Too often, "comprehensive sex education" becomes a code term for adopting a studiously value-neutral about teen sexual activity.  The approach validates, normalizes -- and occasionally even celebrates -- teen sex, which is the last message young people need to be getting.  It increases the social pressures on those who want to be responsible, and implicitly ignores the emotional, psychological -- and, for people of faith -- spiritual fallout of giving too much, too soon (especially for girls).

Interestingly, Pelosi tells Netroots Nation that if its members want to do away with abstinence education, they need to elect more pro-choice members of Congress.  Later, she goes on to lambast pro-life legislators who support abstinence education, arguing, "If you don't like abortion, you should love contraception."  But if she and the rest of the pro-choicers dislike abortion as much as they claim to, shouldn't they "like" abstinence even more, at least for young people -- as it's the only truly fail-safe method of preventing an unwanted pregnancy?

Nancy Pelosi and many others on the left obviously have no clue about the struggles confronting parents as they combat a culture that seems to be trying to sexualize girls at ever-younger ages.  Here is a piece in today's edition of The Oklahoman describing the struggle moms face just to find school clothes that aren't overly sexy (vulgar self-promotion alert: I'm quoted in it). 

And contrary to what Pelosi or anyone on the left thinks, girls aren't "protected" simply because they (or their male counterparts) have dutifully followed instructions to wear a condom.  That's like sending them out to skydive with nothing more than a helmet.  They're truly protected only when a society is committed to encouraging behavior that is the most likely to keep them happy, healthy and whole in body and spirit.  And for young girls in particular, that means abstaining from sex.