Let’s Cut to the Chaste!
By Tony Perkins
It wasn’t enough for liberals to demand free birth control for adults. Now, the Left is gearing up for an even bigger sales pitch — for young girls. America’s daughters are the next stop on Congress’s high-speed train of sexual irresponsibility, thanks to a new study from the Washington University School of Medicine. Researchers there insist that if teenage girls had access to free birth control implants like IUDs and hormones, the pregnancy rate would nosedive.
“When costs are removed, young people and families will use these effective methods,” said Dr. Mary Ott of Indiana University. Like the American Academy of Pediatrics, which just threw its support behind these more invasive kinds of contraception for kids, Ott is part of a growing movement of doctors determined to remove the barriers to early sexual activity. While researchers cheered the lower birth rates they saw from the free implants (35 out of 1,000 compared to the national average of 158 per 1,000), they were suspiciously mum on the rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
No wonder. IUDs and other contraception might protect against pregnancy, but they have absolutely no effect on deadly infections. And based on the CDC’s own research, young people (ages 15-24) are disproportionally affected — “accounting for half of all new STIs,” even though they only represent 25 percent of the sexually experienced population. In other words, these implants might stop kids from having a baby, but they could mean that we parents lose ours! Instead of focusing on risk reduction, it’s time to focus on risk avoidance. IUDs, injectionable contraceptives, and implants don’t protect against death and disease. They also don’t protect against the higher risk of depression and the emotional toll associated with premarital sex.
Somewhere along the way, it became okay to set the bar lower on purity. Unlike any other risky behavior, adults began operating from a position of lower expectations — as if teenagers were wild animals, incapable of exercising any self-control. It became assumed, not discouraged, that children would have sex. And as a result, we have an entire area of teen education that doesn’t curb the risks — but accelerates them. Think about the other behaviors that can devastate a young person’s life. We don’t tell kids to drink less. We tell them not to drink, period. The same with smoking. We don’t hand them filters because we assume they’re going to light up anyway. We teach them not to.
For whatever reason, we’ve become a society that’s afraid to challenge the idea that kids have to have sex before marriage. We refuse to believe that anyone has the self-respect to wait for their spouse — when in reality, there’s a whole generation of kids out there who want to be abstinent. They just aren’t being challenged to do what may be more difficult and counter-cultural.
Too many moms and dads think their kids aren’t listening to what they say about abstinence. Think again. Parents are the single biggest influence on their children’s decisions about sex — topping Hollywood, celebrities, and even their friends. The culture is committed to marketing promiscuity and immodesty at every turn. As parents, we have to be just as committed to helping our teenagers fight those temptations. It’s time to put our trust in kids to do the right thing. Otherwise, they’ll continue meeting the low standards we set for them.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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