Thursday, April 27, 2006

More on Doc Meyers, and on Abstinence

Bless her heart. She may have been bugging Kraft lately about its support of the "homosexual lifestyle," but Marcella Meyers, M.D., M.P.H., has been doing this activism thing for quite a while.

Way back in the 1970s, she got nervous when the schools tried to teach her kids about contraception. So she started something called the Southwest Parent Committee in Chicago. In 1990, with Meyers as project director, SPC was a subcontractor for a troubled abstinence-only educational program in that city.

1998 and 2003, Meyers appeared on WGN Radio (Chicago) pushing her abstinence-only agenda.

In 2001 she submitted a proposed resolution – twice – to the American College of Preventive Medicine asking that organization to “go on record as approving [the] Abstinence Education Programs for young people.” On account of the after-effects of the Sexual Revolution, you see.

The ACPM declined to adopt the resolution, saying that “evidence supporting the effectiveness of such abstinence programs was lacking. Several committee members commented that any abstinence education program should be part of a more comprehensive sexual education curriculum.”

For whatever reason, Dr. Meyers has now turned her attention to us gay folk and our evil ways. Lucky us.

So, anyway, why am I picking on Dr. M? Well, mostly it's because I got bored. And when reference librarians get bored, they research stuff.

But I also got curious -- why would someone who's a scientist -- a public-health scientist -- take a political stand that's, well, unscientific and unhealthy? Not just about the gay stuff, but about a critical health issue like sex education?

Which leads me straight to my soap box for today.

Abstinence-only education does not save lives any more than it saves souls. Indeed, one study found that compared to other kids, students in abstinence-only programs were:

• less likely to feel comfortable asking questions of parents or other trusted adults about sex;

• less likely to understand how decisions about sex can change their future;

• less likely to understand how alcohol and drugs can influence decisions about sex;

• less likely to have skills to resist pressure to have sex; and

• less knowledgeable about the consequences of having a baby as a teenager.

Look, I’m not wild about the idea of my daughter having sex either. Frankly, I'm hoping she'll put off dating until she's around 42. Or maybe 50.

And believe it or not, I do preach abstinence. I don’t want her to be sexually active until she’s married, and I've told her so. Hey, I can be just as provincial as anybody.

At the same time, though, if she decides to ignore my advice, I’m sure not willing to sacrifice the life of my daughter – or anybody else’s kid – just because I’m a little squeamish about sex.

Of course, it does take all kinds, and this is America. I admire the doctor's activist spirit. I really do. It's just too damn bad her brand of activism is fatal.

See also this New York Times article for an overview on the results of abstinence-only education.


  1. Well siad. I don't specify waiting for marriage exactly but we talk a lot about responsible decisions and about not being pressured into anything.

    They're at an age now where our conversations take some unusual turns.

    Abstinence only is stupid, stupid, stupid.

  2. [Steps Up Onto Soapbox. Smiles]


    A 2003 CBS News/New York Times poll showed that only 35 percent of women aged 19-35 believed that abortion should be available to those women who want it. I found that to be very interesting. Most of these young women believed that methods of modern contraception provided such a significant level protection that the only women who got pregnant were those who were careless or wanted to get pregnant.

    Most young women do not realize that, should the availability of such a surgical procedure be banned by law, other methods of contraception will also be very shortly behind. They do not know the historical development of the legal protections in place today. They do not realize that, if abortion is found without some form of legal protection, soon abstinence will be their only method of contraception.

    In a time where, as a country, we tout the wonderful advances of medical technology, it baffles me that we also tout: (1) the castration of women is a perfectly acceptable medical procedure; (2) the castration of men is illegal unless absolutely medically necessary; and (3)the best form of contraception is the Puritan denial of our inherent sexuality.

    It is probably the adherence to the third item above that engenders a hatred for homosexuality and all other forms of "deviant" behavior.

    It is a sad state of affairs indeed.

    [Bows. Steps Down Off Of Soapbox]

  3. This is a great post. I agree that abstinence only being taught is bad. We do need to teach it all, but we should educate them as best as we can about possible outcomes. I lean towards abstinence vs promiscuity in what I want my kids to do when they get there, HOWEVER I think they need to know whats out there and what can happen as well. I really hope that I keep open talking ways with my kids as they grow older. THis is always a parent who really loves their kids nightmare is that their kids will start getting into things and they will begin hiding and lieing to them. My kids only range from ages 3-7 right now (I have 3 of them) but its amazing how quickly time flies. I really appreciate your post!

    now in reference to jurispunk--> the sad thing about abortion is everyone thinks that its just a procedure and that is like any other surgery and once its over and done with that you will never think about it again. The sad thing is many people do even guys. My brother in law really struggled with an abortion he and my sister had. I also was listening to a song I found on accident, well to the lyrics and its a song a guy wrote as his own therapy for how he felt about the baby he felt he paid to have murdered... here is a link that you can hear the song if you are interested... --->

  4. Smurf:

    I am fully aware of the feelings that men have towards abortion. After all, I would have a 10 year old right now but for an abortion that my wife had. I definitely do not consider it to be just a medical procedure. When my wife decided to have an abortion, I gave her my input, told her that it was, ultimately, her decision, and told her that I would fully support whatever decision to which she came. I still fully support her decision even though it might not have been the decision that I would have made if I had to make it.

    The main thing that I wanted to get across in my original comment was that if abortion is found to have no legal protection, shortly thereafter, so will birth control pills. And then condoms. And then all we will have is abstinence. This is based upon legal history, not on rhetoric. I don't think most people know of the history behind reproductive technology. So, it is not okay to say that it's okay to get rid of abortion if you still want access to the pill or to any other forms of birth control, because if one falls, they all fall.

    Abstinence as a doctrine is fine and dandy if you have a world full of educated people who are willing and able to embrace it. But it is also denying a natural (inherent)part of our makeup as human beings.

  5. Here here! It's not only foolish, but a dangerous approach. Guess who has the higer rate of teen pregnancies and STDs - the US or Sweden where sex is seen as healthy and meant to be enjoyed by respectful, loving consensual adults (even young adults? Of course, the health outcomes are better in Sweden.

    Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    Abstinence makes the young folks wander.

    (I know, it's not that good, but I tried...)

  6. got your site from Gary - love it.

    abstinence approach... hmmm

    the "lets close our eyes and pretend they won't do it approach"

    the "sex is dirty and we can't talk about it approach"

    the "condoms are the instrument of the devil approach"

    its like saying "lets pretend there are no drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes in our children's surroundings and just not tell them about it"

    my my.

    and lets not forget the subversive effect the "gays & lesbians" are having on our "properly raised white middle class christian bible loving abtinence abiding children" - why last I heard there was a van of y'all driving around "proper, dignified neibourhoods" - leaping out and having gay/lesbian sex in front of "real" families during their evening prayers....

    tomorrow I will have a teenage daughter (her 13th birthday), (I'll have 2 more teens after that) The last wedding she attended was that of two very dear friends who have been partners for 5 years (they went to Canada to get married legally and had the civil ceramony at our church) - she had a blast, and wants to know when the next lesbian wedding would be - I keep pointing out to her that 'straight people get married too' but she remains unconvinced.

    she has also been 'sexually educated' shhhh!!
    although I don't want her having sex say in the next 10 years, I expect her to know and understand her body and have the ability to make responible choices. She also gets told she's going to hell on a regular basis by some "very Jesus-loving" kids at her school because she is supportive of civil rights, and doesn't attend a Christian church. ah well, good thing she laughs it off.