Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

16 May 2012

Crossing Your Fingers with Abstinence-Only Sex Education

By Diana Hsieh

40 Percent of Young Adults Think Birth Control 'Doesn't Matter':

In abstinence-only sex education classes across the country, kids are taught that condoms have a 30 percent failure rate, that the pill causes cancer, and that pregnancy can result from touching another person's genitals -- if the curriculum mentions contraception at all. It's no wonder that many young adults don't understand how birth control works. A new Guttmacher study quizzed 1,241 sexually active young adults between 18 and 29 about contraception, asking them to choose "true" or "false" for basic statements like "all IUDs are banned from use in the United States" or "condoms have an expiration date." More than half of young men and a quarter of young women received a D or F on the quiz. Six in 10 underestimated the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

Unsurprisingly, the more young people knew about birth control, the less likely they were to have unprotected sex. For each correct response a woman scored on the quiz, her odds of expecting unprotected sex in the next three months decreased by 9 percent. Meanwhile, her chances of using a hormonal or long-acting reversible method of birth control increased by 17 percent.

And it's not as if the ones forgoing contraception are ready to become parents: 69 percent of the women and almost half of the men claimed to be "committed to avoiding pregnancy." A full 40 percent of them agreed that birth control really doesn't matter -- "when it is your time to get pregnant," they agreed, "it will happen." In other words, a significant number of young people's "commitment" to remaining childless involves crossing their fingers, not wearing condoms or swallowing pills.
As discussed in this Salon article -- Why Obama's in bed with abstinence-only education -- the Obama Administration funds ridiculously ill-informed abstinence-only sex education, including the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education.

The government shouldn't be involved in sex education -- or education -- at all... but given that it does so already, it ought not fund dangerous religious dogma.

Read more...

08 May 2012

North Carolina's Despicable Amendment

By Diana Hsieh

David Deerson writes an excellent blog post on North Carolina's Despicable Amendment -- a.k.a. Amendment 1. The amendment -- up for a vote today (May 8th) -- would declare that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

David writes:

The amendment isn’t only a strike against gay marriage but also civil unions, regardless of the gender composition of the partners. Depending on the courts interpretation of the language of the amendment, it could:

  • invalidate domestic violence protections for all unmarried partners;

  • undercut existing child custody and visitation rights that are designed to protect the best interests of children;

  • prevent the state from giving committed couples rights to allow them to order their relationships, including threatening their

  • ability to determine the disposition of their deceased partner’s remains;

  • make medical decisions if their partner is incapacitated

  • allow second-parent adoptions in order to ensure that both partners have a legal tie to, and financial responsibilities for, the

  • children they are raising.

  • invalidate trusts, wills, and end-of-life directives by one partner in favor of the other.



Apparently, the people who will be voting for this amendment don't even understand its legal implications. But based on recent polling numbers, it seems likely to pass by a wide margin. I'm hoping for an unexpected but stunning defeat.

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04 May 2012

Dan Savage on the Bible

By Diana Hsieh

Dan Savage has taken a lot of heat for these critical comments on the Bible, but I think he's right. Just as modern Christians ignore the Bible's teachings on shellfish, masturbation, and slavery, they should ignore the Bible's teachings on homosexuality.

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02 May 2012

Another Cost of Anti-Abortion Laws

By Diana Hsieh

Nebraska Couple Watches Their Baby Die Because of New Law:

Nebraska mother Danielle Deaver, held her brand new, premature baby daughter last December. She watched her struggle to breathe for 15 short minutes, and then die in her arms.

Deaver's water broke late in November, just past 20 weeks' gestation. When she went to the hospital, doctors told her that it was unlikely that her baby would survive, no matter what they did. There was no therapy that would help a baby that young. The doctors explained that the lack of fluid would cause muscle tissues to shorten, affecting the baby's developing lungs. They would likely never develop beyond the 22-week point, and the baby would not be able to breathe.

After a long talk, the Deavers decided that they would like to terminate the pregnancy, rather than waiting for their daughter to be born naturally and suffer. However, in October, Nebraska recently enacted a new, stricter law that prevents abortions after the 20th week of gestation except in very specific situations where the mother's life is immediately in danger. Deaver's situation was outside the law, and there was nothing doctors could do to help her.
Read the rest of the story. Anti-abortion laws always -- always -- inflict unnecessary tragedies on people who desperately want children.

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