Monday, November 10, 2008

Nuance; catching up

1. Book review of Sex in Crisis in the Times Online. Gives historical perspective on the Christian sexual revolution. Need to think more about it, but what sticks out:

Even the Right’s arguments about abortion are often now less about whether it is an act of murder than about whether social science finds it harmful. Despite there being "no reliable data to measure the phenomenon," Justice Kennedy supported his vote to weaken Roe vs Wade with the observation that "severe depression and loss of esteem can follow" from ending a pregnancy.

That's incredibly disheartening, and it makes explicit that social science that finds A to be marginally bad or B to be marginally good might influence policy to completely ban A or subsidize B, instead of a more nuanced perspective.

2. Bill Smith of SIECUS writes that abstinence-only funding should be directed to comprehensive sex education, keeping the federal government funding sex ed, uniquely across all areas of curriculum. Arguably it is a health issue, but even if it makes sense for the federal government to be funding sex ed, politically it seems to me way too dangerous and too easily taken out of context. The anti-comprehensive sex ed folks find a single quote to prove that sex ed is morally degenerate: e.g., they are forever talking about how sex ed teaches kids to use grape jelly in sex.

3. The UK also has abstinence research centers. I did not know this. One is going to publish a book "Just sex: Is it ever just sex?" It is a good question, but not if all nuance is abolished (see point #1).

4. Did I already post the New Yorker article Red Sex, Blue Sex about how "red America" (how the nomenclature has changed!) sees teen pregnancy relatively casually.

5. I was going to write about another virginity pledge study and realized it was my own research.
See the next post.

6. More than $200 million: a GAO study found that apparently some healthy fatherhood HHS funds are being misused for abstinence education. No quantification on how many organizations and how much money.

HHS commented on our finding that some grantees were operating
programs focused on abstinence education. HHS stated that it is
impermissible to use Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) funding for abstinence
education, however, grantees may use funding from other sources to
provide abstinence education through programs separate from the Healthy
Marriage and Fatherhood programs. We visited one such program whose
staff told us that they used DRA funding to support their abstinence
education program and that abstinence education was not provided as a
single lesson, but was the focus of the entire curriculum.

7. RAND study on TV and teen pregnancy by my colleagues. Abstinence sites are reporting the story as well.

Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association commented on the need to combat an over-sexualized society with abstinence education.

"We have a highly sexualized culture that glamorizes sex," said Huber. "We really need to encourage schools to make abstinence-centered programs a priority."

8. In-depth feature on Silver Ring Thing, one of the most detailed descriptions I've seen.

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