It’s funny, the things that never make the news.
Take the recent amendment to the Senate health care plan by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). This language allocates hundreds of millions of dollars of your money toward "Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training."
What can this possibly mean? According to the amendment’s mostly vague language, $400 million from the years 2010 to 2015 will be spent on "evidence-based effective programs" that will supposedly teach kids "healthy life skills," including things like "goal-setting, decision making, negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills, and stress management." This looks like standard Washington-speak: a great pile of words that mean whatever they need to mean.
That is, it looks that way until we get to the part of the amendment that deals with sex. Here we find reference to very specific "activities to educate youth who are sexually active regarding responsible sexual behavior." The amendment claims to implement "evidence-based effective programs . . . that have been proven on the basis of rigorous scientific research to change behavior, which means delaying sexual activity, increasing condom or contraceptive use for sexually active youth, or reducing pregnancy among youth."
Here we come to the nub of the matter. The "personal responsibility education" referred to in the Baucus amendment is actually sex education. The Senate health care plan is going to teach kids about sex. Graphically, and early. With heaps of tax dollars.
The amendment includes the obligatory passing reference to abstinence, (and does reinstate Title V funding for abstinence programs), and claims to provide "age-appropriate information and activities." However, history shows that these claims are misleading at best. What "age-appropriate information" can the bill possibly have in mind for an 11-year-old boy (included in the bill’s intended target group)? Probably not the same "age-appropriate information" the boy’s parents have in mind.
And what good is "abstinence education" if contraception and abortion are being pushed right alongside it? Kids receive a mixed message. They are told, with a wink and a nod, that maybe they should abstain from sex, but the chances are that they simply can’t-and that no one really can. The past teaches us that "evidence-based" or "comprehensive" sex education is simply code for sexual education that treats sex as unavoidable, rather than a human choice.
In this bleak fantasy, kids are nothing more than farm animals, inevitably and indiscriminately sexual. All that the rest of us can do is simply pick up the pieces.
It is no accident that opponents of abstinence education see this amendment as a great boon to their cause. William Smith, Vice President for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), congratulated the Senate for including in the health care bill a "new comprehensive sex education program for the states." "This is a huge step in putting evidence and common sense over hypermorality," he gloats.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy echoes this sentiment. "As an organization dedicated to preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy," reads a recent news release, "the National Campaign applauds Chairman Baucus and the committee for the focus on strong science . . . this investment will help prepare young people for successful transitions to adulthood, alleviate poverty and improve educational outcomes, and improve overall child and family well-being." It all comes down to sex, you see.
How is being treated like an animal a recipe for successful transition to adulthood? While the right to have promiscuous sex may have been the battle-cry of the generation currently in charge of legislation, it is unfair to assume that all of today’s children necessarily aspire to that sorry state. America has some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the Western world precisely because of the graphic, value-free sex education that children are constantly exposed to. Isn’t it time that our legislators stopped wishing for a generation of children as debauched as they are?
The days of Woodstock and free love are long gone, and no amount of public funding or legislative mandates will bring them back.