US withdraws funding from abstinance programme

// 28 August 2005

Common sense and common knowledge have finally won out over abstinance programmes in the United States – or at least one programme, the ‘Silver Ring Thing’, as the Feminist Majority Foundation reports.

The Silver Ring Thing is a religious organisation which gets teenagers to pledge not to have sex, wearing a, yep you guessed it, silver ring to display their abstinance. This is one of the causes that the US administration has been supporting with hefty grants in a bid to end teenage sex and thus, so the argument goes, teen pregnancies and STDs.

Except, it doesn’t work. Study after study has shown that the only thing to get kids to wait to have sex, and to use protection when they do, is good old Sex Ed.

Unfortunately, that’s not why the Silver Ring Thing has lost its funding. Instead, the plug was pulled on it because it was using government funding to promote religion. Which means its unlikely that the money will be ploughed back into something that, say, actually works and isn’t a front for scary Christian fundamentalists to indoctrinate kids.

For more on this phenomenom, check out Ms Magazine’s undercover investigation into a conference on how to teach abstinance:

“Your body is a wrapped lollipop.

“When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it.

“It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he\x92s done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker.

“These words were actually uttered by Darren Washington, an abstinence educator, at the Eighth Annual Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference, an informational three-day trade show for abstinence educators, anti-abortion pregnancy care centers and medical professionals.”

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