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Committee Holds Hearing on Abstinence-Only Sex Education

April 25, 2008

Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday on “Domestic Abstinence-Only Programs: Assessing the Evidence” and had a conversation about whether the current approach to federally-funded sex education is effective and appropriate. The committee heard testimony from public and adolescent health experts, representatives of the Government Accountability Office, Health and Human Services, and Institute of Medicine, as well as Rep. Lois Capps and Sen. Sam Brownback.

Documents containing the witnesses’ statements are available as PDFs, and if you just can’t get enough, there is also video.

Committee Member and Indiana Rep Mark Souder made a statement – if he’s your Rep, and you believe abstinence-only sex ed is lacking, you should really watch his remarks (At about 35 minute mark).

If you’re in Tennessee, check out Rep. John Duncan (~the 72 minute mark) blaming sex on the media and stating, “It seems rather elitist to me for people who maybe have degrees in this field to feel that because they’ve studied it somehow they know better than the parents what is best for [their children].” Oh, good grief – ~20% of those in Duncan’s home state don’t graduate high school (and only ~20% earn a bachelor’s degree or higher), so, yeah, I kind of think it’s possible that they’re less qualified to evaluate the scientific evidence on this topic than someone with a masters in public health, an MD, etc. No, they’re not specially qualified to decide what parents should want, but they are specially qualified to understand what the evidence says about whether programs work, especially from a public health standpoint – which is the whole point of the hearing.

Despite Duncan’s comment, you’ll have to last >85 minutes into the video before any actual subject experts appear. The earlier bits are largely dominated by Brownback’s opinionating.

Reuters has a brief summary, as does the LA Times.

I may have more commentary when I have a chance to view the whole video.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Musa Abdul-Aziz Evans permalink
    April 27, 2008 10:05 pm

    Abstinence only is against our god-given spiritual,physical,emotional,biological nature.Parentelly condoned marriage is preferable,if it is not forced upon the children in any way.We can’t be expected to fight our god given nature and win as mere mortals.

    Thank You,
    Musa Abdul-Aziz Evans


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