“I did everything right. I used protection. How could I have gotten pregnant? How could I have gotten an STD?” I heard this six times in one month from scared clients at the pregnancy resource center (PRC) I volunteered at weekly. After explaining to these devastated girls how their bodies work and the admitted limitations of the birth control they were using, they each said the same thing: “Why isn’t this being taught in school? No one ever told me this!”
Condoms are not magical; they are a thin layer of latex. If there is even the tiniest Herpes sore or HPV wart just beyond the area the condom covers, the condom will not provide protection. That is, if a condom does not cover the sore, it offers 0% protection against the disease the uncovered sore carries. Additionally, birth control pills, patches, shots, and inserts offer 0% protection from disease.
Public-school sex education should not be about politics or money, but rather about science and the health of our children. Unfortunately, if your child is educated in a California public or even charter school, he or she will most likely be taught that condoms and birth control are the answer to consequence-free sex and therefore have become the educational focus. To clarify, your child is possibly being taught medically inaccurate, biased, misleading information under the banner of “Comprehensive Sex Education” and the State-mandated “HIV/AIDS Prevention Education.”
Case in point: The American Red Cross HIV/AIDS Positive Prevention-Comprehensive Sex Education curriculum (ARC), which is the “most commonly used HIV/STD prevention education curriculum in the state,” instructs students using biased medical inaccuracies. ARC’s Positive Prevention curriculum is “a collaborative project of American Red Cross of Orange County, California Department of Education and California Department of Public Health.” The reviewers and technical consultants for the curricula are State Department heads, State education administrators and employees, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administrators and employees, and those associated with the ACLU and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.
If the issues in question were minor and immediately corrected, it would not be a problem – but when tax dollars are used to promote medical inaccuracies, which mislead youth into engaging in risky behavior while simultaneously benefiting the pharmaceutical and abortion industries, immediate action is needed. Bias and objectivity are subjective, so I will focus solely on two medical inaccuracies in the ARC Positive Prevention curriculum at this time:
- The materials that the students view does not mention one vital step in proper condom usage – that is, putting it on before any sexual contact.
According to the CDC, “[i]ncorrect use more commonly entails a failure to use condoms throughout the entire sex act, from start (of sexual contact) to finish (after ejaculation). Use a new condom for every act of vaginal, anal and oral sex throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish). Before any genital contact, put the condom on the tip of the erect penis with the rolled side out.”
- This slide implies equal and very high condom efficacy rates (86%-100%) against both STDs and HIV. Again, none of the ARC information the students see mention anything similar to:“Condoms can be expected to provide different levels of protection for various STDs, depending on differences in how the diseases are transmitted[.] … A lesser degree of protection is provided for genital ulcer diseases or HPV because these infections also may be transmitted by exposure to areas (e.g., infected skin or mucosal surfaces) that are not covered or protected by the condom.” (See http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm.)
CA Ed Code also requires students be given “local” resources for pregnancy testing and STD/STI testing and treatment. The ARC Positive Prevention presentation ends by instructing the children to text www.teensource.org, where they will receive local clinic information via text.
When I texted as directed, only one clinic was local (there are at least four clinics in our area), and two were Planned Parenthood locations an hour away. After Googling “61827,” and searching through many Planned Parenthood links, I found teensource.org as the source of the texts. This website also offers minors “Weekly Sex Information,” “Score Free Condoms,” and “Know Your Rights” legal advice from the ACLU.
The last text I received from the number given to CA public school children was “HookupWeeklyTip: Have u tried a female condom? They can be inserted up to 8 hrs b4 sex. No need to stop in the moment! Info @ teensource.org …”
The State obviously understands that medical advice should be given and reviewed by “objective” medical professionals, but Planned Parenthood is a recommended presenter and is listed as a resource on the California Department of Education website.
Why is Planned Parenthood even involved in the education of our children? As far as a majority of Americans are concerned, Planned Parenthood is the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood profits when children do what Planned Parenthood tells them to do. When Planned Parenthood is allowed to influence public school education, children are likely taught biased “contraception education.” Basically, they market only the benefits of birth control options in the classroom and then send the kids to local abortion providers (aka Family PACT, Title X recipients) for “free” answers to make sex “safe,” and if anything goes wrong they have a “safe and easy” pill or surgery. The taxpayer foots the initial bill for the “education,” then the “free services,” and later the bill for “free’ abortions, STD treatments, and the welfare programs that will likely follow. As I have seen countless times, too many children taught this way are left feeling used, angry, empty and lied to after following the instructions of their public-school sex education. The role of public education should not be to fill the abortion industry’s waiting rooms or increase the profits of the pharmaceutical industry.
In California, millions of tax dollars are spent educating youth about sex. California’s Comprehensive Sexual Health Education and the mandated HIV/AIDS instruction (Ca Ed. Code 51930-51939) have detailed instruction on what must be taught. It is not all bad. Some of the positive requirements are “Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only certain way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Instruction and materials shall teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.” Unfortunately, the instruction the students actually receive is often far from this requirement.
At no other time in recorded history has there been so much pressure for a teen to do the very thing that would be the most dangerous for them. Peer pressure, pornography, the internet, music, movies, and TV flood them constantly with medically inaccurate messaging. We should at least demand that at public school they are given the truth.
Parents can make a difference. Read and empower yourself: Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children, and Raising Teens with Sexual Self-Control: a Parents Survival Guide are just two of my favorites. You can also:
- Check your child’s texting and internet use often.
- Demand to see the complete sex education curricula at your child’s school, read through it and ask if Planned Parenthood will be mentioned at all. Planned Parenthood is barely mentioned in the ARC Positive Prevention curriculum, yet students are sent to them via text.
- Read the “Confidential Health Services” or “Confidential Medical Services” policy at your child’s school, it most likely allows children as young as twelve to excuse themselves from school for an abortion without parental notification. Your average parent or student does not know this, but your average child-molester is well informed of your child’s “rights”; so are the very sites and clinics the school may send your child: teensource.org and your local abortion provider.
- Remind your school that they are mandatory reporters and that allowing even an incest victim to leave campus for abortion services without parental notification is doing nothing more than sending her back to her abuser, minus evidence of the abuse. There are laws in place to save the victim and punish the criminal; “Confidential Medical/Health Services” helps the abuser, not the victim.
- If your child is in a school that violates CA ed code by failing to “emphasize” abstinence or the “failure rates of condoms and other contraceptives in preventing sexually transmitted HIV infection,” you can instruct your child and school that on those days, your child will be absent. Each absent child is money lost to schools, and money obviously talks!
- You can spend those days with your child outside of a local abortion provider witnessing firsthand the sad faces walking in and out. Have them read the legally binding medical release form for both surgical and medical abortion; then ask your child if that sounds “safe and easy.”
- If your child voices outrage over the social injustice that is abortion, help him or her become a trained sidewalk counselor, start a pro-life club or volunteer at your local PRC.
Bottom line: your child does not want to get this information from the State, the pharmaceutical industry, or the abortion industry; they want to get it from you, their parent.
(The author of this article has taught medically accurate sex education to thousands of teens and adults in public schools, juvenile hall, youth groups, and parenting presentations. The inaccuracies mentioned in this article were brought to that attention of the American Red Cross, but corrections are not scheduled to be made for another school year.)