Carol Platt Liebau: Now More Than Ever

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Now More Than Ever

In light of some recent news, it seems that my upcoming book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)" -- out November 2 -- is more timely than ever.

What in the world can the Portland, Maine school district be thinking to allow the distribution of contraceptives in a middle school -- for those 11 to 13 and without parental permission? Here's a snippet from the story:

"This isn't encouraging kids to have sex. This is about the kids who are engaging in sexually activity," Richard Veilleux said.

That's a common argument from those who support these sorts of initiatives. But no one would dream of telling children, "Don't drink, but if you do, don't drive" or saying, "No drugs -- but if you're on them, come to the school nurse to get your clean needles." Rather, we tell children, "Don't do it." Period.

Ah, some will say, but underage drinking and most drug use is illegal. True enough -- but simply because a behavior is legal doesn't mean that it's appropriate for children. Fifty years ago, premarital sex was simply not tolerated -- and as a result, there was less of it. The same isn't true today . . . and as any economist will tell you, when a certain behavior is subsidized (whether through attitudes, free contraceptive handouts or any other way), there is more of it.

Ultimately, it's a matter of the types of behavior that we, as a society, are willing to tolerate. Apparently, many are willing to accept that 11 year olds (or nine year olds, for that matter) will have sex. Now consider the contrast: We would not concede that it's inevitable that there will be a certain amount of sexism or racism -- and therefore, we should segregate students by gender or race. Rather, we insist that sexist or racist attitudes not be tolerated, and make children amend any inappropriate speech or behavior. Many of those who would be first to argue that young people can't be taught to control their sexual urges would likewise be the first to insist (properly) that they be taught to control any latent racist or sexist impulses.

One always hesitates to play the class warfare card, but consider this quote from the linked story:

King [where this plan is going into effect] is the only one of the three [middle] schools [in Portland] with a health center, primarily because it has more students who get free or reduced-price lunch, said Lisa Belanger, who oversees Portland's student health centers.

I suspect that there are some who think it's simply easier to hand out birth control to youngsters from socioeconomically stressed backgrounds to prevent them from reproducing than it is to teach them about sexual self-control. Well, any young person -- whatever his or her background -- can exercise self-control and develop self-respect as a result, as Elayne Bennett has amply demonstrated through her Best Friends Foundation.


Blogger Cliff said...

More dem sewage that can only serve to better Republican chances for a national landslide in '08!

8:41 PM  
Blogger JohnnyT. said...

Isn't it comical they want to distribute birth control (without parental notification or consent) when parents have to sign a waiver for the child to use sunblock? Or take an aspirin? Priorities so screwed up won't be so easily disassembled. Parents that care need to stand up and take back their duty to raise their own children. And keep government entities filthy hands off their children.

12:57 PM  

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