Friday, January 23, 2009

Abstinence Only? !פשוט הימנעו

I admit it: I can't get Bristol Palin off my mind. I'm curious about the Palins' church's rules. For one, does she still have to abstain from sex with Levi? I mean, we all know they already fornicated. Or do the rules say it's still fornication outside of marriage? And shouldn't they hurry up and tie the knot? I mean, we wouldn't want her to go into labor at the wedding, would we?

In addition, I'm dying for someone to explain to me, step by step, the logic of the abstinence-only principle. Does it mean that the biology teacher should teach about our cardiac, digestive, neural, pulmonary, and musculo-skeletal systems, but deftly skip over human reproduction? If not, is s/he allowed to talk about how not to procreate? After all, even the Bible doesn't just say "observe kashrut"; it tells us specifically what foods are forbidden, no matter how mouth-watering. Corollarily I would assume that abstinence only would have to include teaching our kids what not to do as opposed to just saying "no sex, even though it feels good".

And when they say "abstinence", abstinence from what? Intercourse? Or the other "bases"? Which bases? Slow dancing? Touching? At least Judaism is consistent on this point: No touching. Really, if we want to be honest about it, no dating. Well, we know that Bristol and Levi dated, presumably with the approval of their parents, so…? That leads us to…where?

I actually agree that schools shouldn’t teach “sex ed”; they should teach reproductive education. It’s the parents’ job to teach the values. So what would be wrong with the biology teacher saying, “People, right now, your bodies want to make babies. But hold off on making babies ‘til you’re financially independent and mature enough to delay gratification, because babies' needs don’t wait for you to finish painting your toenails or get home from hockey practice. Therefore, you need to find a way not to make babies. If for you that means abstinence, then abstain. If your faith allows the use of birth control, find some and use it. But for God's sake, don’t make babies.” What could possibly be offensive about that speech, to the adherents of any faith???

Besides, with the exception of fundies, I think it's safe to say that most couples -- whether teens coupling in the backseat of a car, or newlyweds -- do not intend to procreate the first time they have sex. Therefore, most couples at some point need to know how to prevent conception. So what's wrong with simply having the information? Lastly, a relevant quote from Haxer hedge42:

"I've impressed on my sons that girls who get used and left pregnant actually have a bit more control over their destinies than do guys who are ensnared by girls whom they impregnate. Why? Well, while the guy has zero say in whether a resulting pregnancy is carried to term, where the mom and kid reside, or how she parents, he'll be expected to pay her a certain percentage of his income for the next 18 years, minimum, and have her in his life potentially for much longer, if not forever."

Makes safe sex suddenly sound appealing, no?

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