America's War On Sex

Marty Klein

Part 2

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But most of all, these programs don these programs don' t work. t work. Here's proof: Here's proof: * In Minnesota, s.e.xual activity of junior high school partic.i.p.ants in an abstinence program doubled.15 * Young people who took a virginity pledge are one-third less likely less likely then nonpledgers to use contraception when they become s.e.xually active.16 then nonpledgers to use contraception when they become s.e.xually active.16 * Young people who took a virginity pledge have the same rates of STDs as nonpledgers.17 * Teens who pledge abstinence and haven't had intercourse are more more likely likely to have oral and a.n.a.l s.e.x than nonpledgers who haven't had intercourse.18 to have oral and a.n.a.l s.e.x than nonpledgers who haven't had intercourse.18 * Two-thirds of Northern Kentucky University students who pledged celibacy until marriage broke that pledge while still in college. Of those who remained "abstinent," more than half acknowledged having oral s.e.x while describing themselves as celibate.19 Did you know this? Probably not.

With all the media discussion of the abstinence mission and programs, with all the confident a.s.sertions that this is what's right for the country, why don't you know this? It should be front page news-"Billion-dollar program crucial to saving youth of America doesn doesn' t work. t work. " "

Despite these programs' failures, abstinence advocates still seem to think that ignorance and fear will motivate young people. If they'd only read the social science literature, they'd know that doesn't work. But they proudly declare their beliefs to be more valid than science. For example, last year, over 2,000,000 kids smoked their first cigarette. Three-quarters of a million of those kids will become regular smokers. One-quarter of high school kids smoke.

Four-and-a-half million adolescents smoke. This despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent nationwide to discourage them, and radical age restrictions on tobacco advertising, marketing, and retail sales, and its near-disappearance from primetime TV and a dramatic reduction in films and video.

Does anyone think kids haven't been told enough about the dangers of smoking? And unlike s.e.x, which you can get as a kid, you can't even buy the 18 18 stuff legally. Somehow, kids want to do it anyway-even though they know relatives, friends' parents, and even popular figures die from it.

Does anyone think the desire to try a cigarette is stronger than the desire to try s.e.x?

EVALUATION? NO THANKS.

When confronted with questions of effectiveness, the motto of abstinence programs is, "Just say, 'I don't know.'"

One of the most d.a.m.ning facts about abstinence programs is their dramatic lack of interest in fact and science. The material actually delivered, as well as the mission of and marketing of the programs themselves, bear only a coincidental relationship with fact. Here are common untruths the abstinence movement repeats: * Condoms don't work * Premarital s.e.x is emotionally poisonous * Premarital s.e.x is physically disastrous * People who make abstinence pledges are the only ones who respect themselves In 2004, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a report, "The Content of Federal y Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs."

It's a concise evaluation of the thirteen most popular abstinence-only s.e.x education programs.20 It doc.u.ments that "over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula used by 2/3 of [federal y funded programs] contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health." Especial y common were: * false information about the effectiveness of contraception; * false information about the risk of abortion; * blurring religion and science; * treating stereotypes of girls and boys as scientific fact; * scientific errors.

Here are actual quotes from these federally funded programs that actual children in actual American schools are now reading and hearing: * "In heteros.e.xual s.e.x, condoms fail to prevent HIV approximately 31% of the time"

* Touching another person's genitals "can result in pregnancy."

* "The popular claim that condoms help prevent the spread of STDs is not supported by the data."

Battleground: s.e.x Education-Where Children Come Second 19 s.e.x Education-Where Children Come Second 19 * "Women gauge their happiness and judge their success by their relationships. Men's happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments."21 * "Following abortion, according to some studies, women are more p.r.o.ne to suicide."

* Personal problems "can be eliminated by being abstinent until marriage."

The Religious Right's response (e.g., Morality in Media, Focus on the Family, Agape Press) was predictable: they trashed Waxman. They link him to same-s.e.x marriage. They attack him for quoting Planned Parenthood data.

They criticize his acceptance of campaign contributions from "groups that financially benefit from abortion" like the American Medical a.s.sociation. They complain that he didn't mention all the funding for safer s.e.x programs.22 Since they say they care about kids, you'd imagine they were concerned, wanted to fix the programs, increase their credibility, ability to serve kids, and so forth. But no. They attacked the report, the Congressman, his district, and his supporters. They attacked science.

No programs attempted to improve themselves. No one apologized for or attempted to remove inaccuracies. This is clear proof that these programs are far less interested in their results than in their ideological purity-and their hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.

In 2002, Congressmember Lois Capps (D-CA) offered an amendment to an abstinence funding bill that would have required abstinence programs receiving federal money to be scientifically accurate. Nothing fancy.

But no. They say they don't trust science-they simply "know" the programs work-and it was soundly defeated. In subsequent years, this was attempted again and again. In 2006 it was reintroduced with 120 cosponsors. You'd think this would be a slam-dunk-who doesn't want their kids to have accurate information, especially about protecting their health? But a majority of con-gressmembers resist this. Abstinence proponents say, "Whose science?" as if they could provide competing data showing that abortion does lead to infertility, premarital s.e.x does lead to suicide, gays are mentally defective, or condoms do fail to protect against disease.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is particularly hypocritical about this, as he proudly struts his support of health care outcomes research. In 2000, he said that outcomes research was a priority "of federal efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States."23 And in 2003, he said, "We must continue to move forward in the collection and the evaluation, dissemination, and a.n.a.lysis of information related to everyday health care."24 The outcome data on s.e.x education programs already exists, and he promotes federal policies and he promotes federal policies contraindicated by the data. contraindicated by the data.

20.Program evaluation is a sophisticated science used by trained experts across the industrial world, including the United States. It is is possible to know how abstinence programs affect both thinking and behavior in its recipients-if someone wants the facts. possible to know how abstinence programs affect both thinking and behavior in its recipients-if someone wants the facts.

Proponents of comprehensive s.e.xuality education have wanted to know for decades. Here's what peer-reviewed, validated, and replicated studies have conclusively shown; that is, here is what American civilization now knows: * Does s.e.x education make kids have s.e.x?

No * Do condoms work?

Yes * Does the availability of condoms in school clinics increase kids' s.e.xual activity?

No * Are gays mentally defective?

No * Does premarital s.e.x itself lead to problems?

No * Does abortion lead to breast cancer?

No * Do abstinence programs stop kids from having s.e.x before marriage?

No The biggest lie of abstinence is that it works every time. It doesn doesn' t. t. In the most comprehensive study ever done on adolescent health and s.e.xuality, Columbia University's Dr. Peter Bearman's investigators interviewed more than 20,000 young people about virginity pledges. Twelve percent (12%) of the students who pledged virginity kept their promise. That's a 12 percent success rate with this supposedly perfect method. That means abstinence fails 88 In the most comprehensive study ever done on adolescent health and s.e.xuality, Columbia University's Dr. Peter Bearman's investigators interviewed more than 20,000 young people about virginity pledges. Twelve percent (12%) of the students who pledged virginity kept their promise. That's a 12 percent success rate with this supposedly perfect method. That means abstinence fails 88 percent of the time- six times as often as condoms fail in typical use, six times as often as condoms fail in typical use, six times as often as the method that abstinence advocates say is unreliable.25 six times as often as the method that abstinence advocates say is unreliable.25 Kids using abstinence this weekend this weekend will have s.e.x. They've promised they won't, but they will. How do we want to prepare them for this? We tell kids to wear seat belts, even though we don't want them to crash. We tell kids to call if they'll be late, even though we want them home on time. will have s.e.x. They've promised they won't, but they will. How do we want to prepare them for this? We tell kids to wear seat belts, even though we don't want them to crash. We tell kids to call if they'll be late, even though we want them home on time.

What do we offer kids who don't refuse s.e.x the way we want them to?

Nothing-no backup plan, no mnemonic devices, no support, no information to protect themselves. Ask an abstinence proponent what a kid should do if he or she has s.e.x, and they reply, "Don't have s.e.x." Denny Pattyn, founder of Silver Ring Thing, says if "my own 16-year-old daughter tells me she's going to be s.e.xually active, I would not not tell her to use a condom."26 tell her to use a condom."26 Battleground: s.e.x Education-Where Children Come Second 21 s.e.x Education-Where Children Come Second 21 Abstinence "educators" disregard kids who have s.e.x like so much trash. It's a disgusting form of hostility toward our young people. It would be like withholding vitamins from kids who refuse to eat vegetables (after promising they will), or withholding toothbrushes from kids who drink pop (after promising they won't).

CONSEQUENCES OF ABSTINENCE EDUCATION.

We shouldn't be surprised, then, that America has inherited the consequences of the failure of al three of these strategies (lie about safer s.e.x, claim that beliefs are facts, and provide forums for abstinence pledges). Kids don't abstain- whether they think s.e.x is dangerous or not. Kids don't abstain-whether they make public pledges or not. Kids don't abstain-whether they think G.o.d wil be mad at them or not. Over 90 percent of Americans have s.e.x before marriage.

The only question is whether they wil have it in a physical y and emotional y healthy environment. The goal of abstinence programs is to a.s.sure they won't.27 Although the emotionally abusive messages of abstinence programs don't shape adolescents' s.e.xual behavior behavior much, they do shape the much, they do shape the emotional context emotional context of their s.e.xual behavior. So these young people use contraception less, understand less about how s.e.x actually works, feel worse about themselves, and talk less about their s.e.xual feelings or experiences with their parents. So abstinence programs create the worst of both worlds: nonabstinence, lower rates of contraception and disease protection, and less intelligence about s.e.x-not only logistically, but emotionally and spiritually. of their s.e.xual behavior. So these young people use contraception less, understand less about how s.e.x actually works, feel worse about themselves, and talk less about their s.e.xual feelings or experiences with their parents. So abstinence programs create the worst of both worlds: nonabstinence, lower rates of contraception and disease protection, and less intelligence about s.e.x-not only logistically, but emotionally and spiritually.

All this from people who say they care about the children.

Without question, many young people would be better off if they postponed s.e.x by a year or two or more. (Of course, many adults would, too.) But no social policy is cost-free. And every public policy has unexpected consequences-some of them quite unpleasant.

So what do kids pay for abstinence programs?

* Unfamiliarity with, and mistrust of, contraception * Increased contraceptive risk-taking * Reinforcement of the belief that s.e.x is bad and dangerous * Reinforcement of traditional gender roles * Unrealistic expectations of marital s.e.x * Unrealistic expectations of their own future-that they'll be chaste, when most won't be * Ignorance of appropriate, personal s.e.xual decision-making * Shame, guilt, and isolation when chast.i.ty vows are broken * Healthy experimentation made complicated and more dangerous * Feeling rejected and judged by parents and/or G.o.d 22 22 Abstinence advocates say that a comprehensive (they call it "mixed") message teaches kids that we expect them to fail. That a.s.sumes, of course, that shunning s.e.x is the only form of "success."

But what does it do to young people when we actually do set them up to fail? We are training a whole generation that "if " (actually when) when) they have s.e.x before marriage, that they have failed, that G.o.d will be angry, that they lack discipline or self-respect or love for their future partner. They will also learn that they can't plan effectively. What kind of parents, citizens, lovers will they then be? With how many bad feelings will they a.s.sociate s.e.x-thereby undermining thoughtful s.e.xual decision-making? they have s.e.x before marriage, that they have failed, that G.o.d will be angry, that they lack discipline or self-respect or love for their future partner. They will also learn that they can't plan effectively. What kind of parents, citizens, lovers will they then be? With how many bad feelings will they a.s.sociate s.e.x-thereby undermining thoughtful s.e.xual decision-making?

"Abstinence" is a huge gamble-if kids "fail," they can't protect themselves.

So even if a few kids benefit, the rest-the majority-pay the price. Is this a reasonable social policy-gambling that a few will make it and abandoning the rest?

Finally, as award-wining educator Bill Taverner asks, how are programs preparing people to make the transition from using abstinence to using a different method of contraception and disease prevention? After all, almost 90 percent of abstinence pledgers have intercourse before marriage-and they protect themselves and each other at a lower rate than nonpledgers. Even if abstinence programs do help teens postpone s.e.xual involvement, morality-yes, morality- dictates that they prepare these kids for the time when they will switch to a different way of life, with different challenges. So long as abstinence programs ignore this reality, their claims of "morality-based s.e.x education" are hollow.

What's left is the simple-and dangerous-antis.e.x message.

KIDS AS A MINORITY TARGETED FOR DISCRIMINATION.

When it comes to s.e.xuality, Americans under 18 are a repressed minority.

In most or all states, * information is systematically withheld from them; * government, school, and church programs deliberately lie to them; * health services are withheld from them; * health products are withheld from them; * in many states it is against the law for them to have intercourse with anyone; anyone; * it is against the law for them to take photos of themselves of themselves in provoca-tive poses. in provoca-tive poses.

In other arenas, kids have rights, regardless of the needs and feelings of adults. There are laws, for example, requiring school attendance and certain vaccinations, and restricting child labor and corporal punishment, regardless of how parents or other adults feel about these issues.

Battleground: s.e.x Education-Where Children Come Second 23 s.e.x Education-Where Children Come Second 23 But when it comes to s.e.x, young people have no rights. Not insufficient insufficient s.e.xual rights- s.e.xual rights- no rights. no rights. Their rights have been taken away in response to adults' hysteria about their safety, anxiety about their morality, anger about their autonomy, confusion about their decision-making, and rejection of their human needs. Their rights have been taken away in response to adults' hysteria about their safety, anxiety about their morality, anger about their autonomy, confusion about their decision-making, and rejection of their human needs.

Sure, we regulate kids' access to tobacco, alcohol, and driving. But there's science backing these decisions, and kids are allowed access to unlimited, accurate information about these subjects. And we rarely tell them that young people who smoke or drink (or have car accidents) are bad, selfish, and immoral, no matter how much we want to discourage them.

Not so regarding s.e.x.

When the United States has treated other minority groups similarly (Native Americans, the handicapped, women, etc.), scandal has eventually ensued, and discrimination has decreased. There is still no scandal about the way America targets children and young adults for discriminatory treatment.

International human rights law establishes that every person, including every child, has the right to the highest attainable standard of health; the right to seek, receive, and impart information of all kinds; the right to nondiscrimination and equal protection of the law; and the right to an education.28 This includes the right to information and education concerning the prevention and control of prevailing health problems.29 The United States has signed international treaties guaranteeing these rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,30 the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Partic.i.p.ating countries affirm their legal obligation to refrain from "censoring, withholding or intentional y misrepresenting health-related information, including s.e.xual education information."

The 1998 United Nations guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights recommends that states "ensure that children and adolescents have adequate access to confidential s.e.xual and reproductive health services, including HIV/AIDS information, counseling, testing and prevention measures such as condoms."31 But according to the 2002 report of the internationally respected Human Rights Watch, "[American] Federally funded abstinence-only programs, in keeping with their federal mandate, deny children basic information that could protect them from HIV/AIDS infection . . . these programs not only interfere with fundamental rights to information, to health and to equal protection under the law. They also place children at unnecessary risk of HIV infection and premature death."32 And now the United States has become an obstacle to HIV prevention on a global scale. Our government has decided that no forms of HIV prevention or pregnancy prevention besides abstinence shall be allowable in programs it funds anywhere in the world.33 The government of the United Kingdom recently pledged over $5,000,000 to International Planned Parenthood Federation, specifically to fund programs made ineligible by American rules. Today's 24 24 U.S. government stands alongside Sudan (c.l.i.toridectomy), Saudi Arabia (limiting girls' education), Nigeria (stoning adulterous girls), Malawi (forced marriage of girls to old men to settle debts), and Pakistan (honor killings) in their violations of human rights standards of child treatment. How proud can we be of our way of life when we stand alongside these states and their barbaric customs?

What a humiliating contrast to Europe and Canada, whose teens have intercourse at roughly the same rate as Americans, but whose national policies on s.e.x education and health have been dramatically more successful in curtailing teen pregnancy, abortion, and STDs.

The United States is a signatory of the UN and other international treaties that specifically state that children have a right to s.e.xual health information and the entire range of treatment and prevention options. America violates this commitment as a matter of national policy.

The Geneva Convention says that children under fifteen "shall neither be recruited in the armed forces or groups, nor allowed to take part in hostilities."

To satisfy the l.u.s.t of their elders, American school children have been dragged into the War on s.e.x.34 Children as collateral damage in? That would be bad enough. But the repulsive truth is that, in this war, children are a primary target.

Chapter Three.

The Most Powerful "Minority" in the United States I'm confused. Exactly who is this "they" that the Religious Right keeps saying has hijacked the country?

The Religious Right keeps bragging about how they are responsible for electing the President, Vice President, and Congress. They say they are effectively pressuring Washington to get conservative federal judges appointed.

They claim they are electing mayors, state legislators, and governors across the country. So who exactly is pa.s.sing the laws we all live under?

And who are the consumers of the cultural products the Religious Right constantly criticizes? Who do they think is watching Desperate Housewives, Desperate Housewives, going to see going to see Maid in Manhattan, Maid in Manhattan, buying buying Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan, and downloading Janet Jackson's half-second nipple? At the mall, who do they think is giving their 13-year-olds money to buy belly shirts, iPods, and cell phones? and downloading Janet Jackson's half-second nipple? At the mall, who do they think is giving their 13-year-olds money to buy belly shirts, iPods, and cell phones?

The three fastest-growing recreations in America are NASCAR races, TV wrestling, and poker. All involve beer and half-undressed pretty girls. Who are the fans for these?

And p.o.r.nography: The Right keeps complaining that we're "flooded" with it. OK, there are 50 million Americans consuming p.o.r.n-and they aren't all Al Gore and Michael Moore. So who are these 50 million people? When the Right complains that hotels are making a fortune selling in-room p.o.r.n, who do they think stays in those hotel rooms in Topeka, Provo, and Memphis?

The Religious Right has masterful y portrayed itself as the voice of the s.e.x-sober majority being oppressed by the s.e.x-crazed minority. They demand sympathy and righteous indignation about the way "children," "families,"

"tradition," "morals," "values," and "decency" are under attack. They have gotten the government and media to support them as defenders of America's wholesomeness-against some mythical, incredibly powerful "them."

But the Right is like the kid who kills his parents and asks for mercy because he's an orphan. Somehow, they neglect to mention that it's the consumer choices and other preferences of their own const.i.tuents their own const.i.tuents that are the so-called problem. It is average, working-cla.s.s and middle-cla.s.s Republican voters in that are the so-called problem. It is average, working-cla.s.s and middle-cla.s.s Republican voters in 26 26 Charleston, Abilene, and Spokane that are watching p.o.r.n, having affairs, buying vibrators, going to strip clubs, and keeping s.e.x & the City s.e.x & the City on the air. People may tell pollsters and even politicians that they want more "decent" programs and products. But that's not what these people are discussing, buying, and watching. Religious people, conservative people, "decent" people demand, and get, the on the air. People may tell pollsters and even politicians that they want more "decent" programs and products. But that's not what these people are discussing, buying, and watching. Religious people, conservative people, "decent" people demand, and get, the Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls, a Hitachi magic wand, Jenna Jameson, a lap dance. a Hitachi magic wand, Jenna Jameson, a lap dance.

The Right portrays America as under siege by a dangerous ideology, a villain-ous intelligence, which simply doesn't exist. The evil that the Right is battling so energetically isn't evil, and it isn't out there. It's the simple decision-making of of its own people. its own people. And they make the same choices people around the world make whenever they have a chance. And they make the same choices people around the world make whenever they have a chance.

Unfortunately, the idea of a tangible Satanic force that must be battled out in the world is familiar to tens of millions of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. At various times, the group said to embody this Evil has been identified as pagans, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and communists. These days they're h.o.m.os.e.xuals, liberals, and p.o.r.nographers.

To the Right, these three symbolize choice. Valuing pleasure. The rejection of fear of Evil. A loss of group control over individual impulse.

The Religious Right plays to the literalist expectation of Evil exquisitely; for example, look at its portrayal of less than civilized, less than adult, conscience-less, seductive h.o.m.os.e.xuals. Somehow, this group of five or six million people, with no guns, two congressmen, and Ellen Degeneres is positioned as a threat to the most powerful country in the history of the world. That is a brilliant political accomplishment.

What exactly is is this "h.o.m.os.e.xual agenda" from which the Christian Right is protecting you and me? The idea that gay marriage hurts straight marriage is staggering. "Honey, I'm sorry I had an affair, but you know how those gays are undermining our marriages . . ." The Bush administration has cut funding for student loans, funding for alternative fuels research, funding for grandma's medication, funding for poor people's birth control, and funding for job re-training. But they say the real danger is a bunch of men and women who want to marry each other instead of, uh, each other. this "h.o.m.os.e.xual agenda" from which the Christian Right is protecting you and me? The idea that gay marriage hurts straight marriage is staggering. "Honey, I'm sorry I had an affair, but you know how those gays are undermining our marriages . . ." The Bush administration has cut funding for student loans, funding for alternative fuels research, funding for grandma's medication, funding for poor people's birth control, and funding for job re-training. But they say the real danger is a bunch of men and women who want to marry each other instead of, uh, each other.

The Right is correct about one thing. The American family and American community are, today, spinning out of control. But it isn't because of the Axis of Moral Evil-h.o.m.os.e.xuals, liberals, and p.o.r.nographers. Rather, it's the unintended consequence of a wildly successful advanced capitalist system, which gives spending money and privacy to teens, while overworking two parents who can't afford healthcare, geographical y dispersing their families, and increasing their grandparents' lifespans while decreasing their dignity.

It's a sociopolitical economic system that values computer networking over intimate connecting.

Our alienation and sense of powerlessness is the unfortunate result of getting what Americans said we wanted-more and more and more stuff, stuff, more more The Most Powerful "Minority" in the United States 27 The Most Powerful "Minority" in the United States 27 low-density housing in car-dependent suburbs, more guarantees of physical security, and more certainty about the most uncertain anxieties of human existence-no matter how deadening our jobs, how unhealthy our environment, how corrupt our politics, how meaningless our entertainment, or how atomized our families and relationships. Americans have asked for lives that require less thinking, and we've been handed them. At a soul-searing price.

We ought to be sympathetic about the fear, grief, and resentment of people watching their lives and communities spinning out of control, and their kids spinning away from them. Men and women across America are brokenhearted.

And the primary political group addressing this heartbreak is the Religious Right. Unfortunately, they do it in a fundamentally disempowering way. They say, "Let's give in to our fear, let's restrict our choices, let's attempt to control everything and everyone else." s.e.xuality-messy, idiosyncratic, unpredictable, transgressive-is high on the agenda of what needs controlling.

They don't encourage us to grow up and face our own role in creating lives we fear and resent. But as the only political group discussing heartbreak and isolation, they attract listeners, listeners who become disciples. And so although Christians d.a.m.n the very activities the public values-soft-core entertainment, hard-core stimulation-the public somehow feels comforted. When the Right talks about an idealized, wholesome past that never existed, it's code for wanting to address how frightened and lonely people feel now. That makes them feel acknowledged. They then want to say "yes" to whatever solution is proposed, even the loss of dignity, freedom, and adulthood that is the core of the Religious Right's program.

So when the Religious Right hyperventilates, sputters, rages, and proph-esies doom regarding premarital s.e.x, extramarital s.e.x, nonmarital s.e.x, and p.o.r.nography, abortion, Grey's Anatomy, Grey's Anatomy, STDs, and d.i.l.d.oes, they're talking about themselves, but blaming a "them." People who feel powerless are cheering this war on "them," even though it's ultimately a war on STDs, and d.i.l.d.oes, they're talking about themselves, but blaming a "them." People who feel powerless are cheering this war on "them," even though it's ultimately a war on themselves. themselves. But people who feel powerless and ashamed of their own s.e.xuality can't possibly stand up for themselves in this battle. They will continue to cheer Senator/Reverends Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, and Ted Stevens, and Reverend/Senators James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Brent Bozell as they demonize p.o.r.n and Fox TV-even while voters buy p.o.r.n and watch Fox. And manipulated by these cynical senator/reverends, the same voters will continue to spit on the American Civil Liberties Union while it protects their rights to buy p.o.r.n and watch Fox. But people who feel powerless and ashamed of their own s.e.xuality can't possibly stand up for themselves in this battle. They will continue to cheer Senator/Reverends Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, and Ted Stevens, and Reverend/Senators James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Brent Bozell as they demonize p.o.r.n and Fox TV-even while voters buy p.o.r.n and watch Fox. And manipulated by these cynical senator/reverends, the same voters will continue to spit on the American Civil Liberties Union while it protects their rights to buy p.o.r.n and watch Fox.

There's a good chance that the Christian Right will continue scoring serious victories. They actually could criminalize abortion, restrict p.o.r.n, abolish strip clubs, eliminate gay adoptions, purge and re-closet h.o.m.os.e.xuals, and make adultery and premarital s.e.x excruciatingly frightening and costly.

But no government, no religion, can eliminate the desire for s.e.x, for s.e.xual experimentation, for the taboo, the naughty, the novel, the intense. Read a 28 28 century of science fiction: no one can stop people from somehow creating erotic entertainment and pleasure outside outside the bounds of whatever is considered the bounds of whatever is considered "decent."

We know that the most notable figures on the Right-including Rudy Giuliani, Jimmy Swaggart, Bill O'Reilly, Strom Thurmond, Robert Livings-ton, and Newt Gingrich-have partic.i.p.ated in extramarital affairs, visits with prost.i.tutes, and s.e.xual hara.s.sment. Who would they they say say is the "them" who's hijacking the country? is the "them" who's hijacking the country?

Chapter Four.

Battleground: Reproductive Rights Reproductive Rights "I would like to outlaw contraception. It is disgusting-people using each other for pleasure," says Joseph Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League. Some people are obsessed with the rights of sperm to fertilize eggs, and with fertilized eggs to implant. Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry says, "I don't think Christians should use birth control." would like to outlaw contraception. It is disgusting-people using each other for pleasure," says Joseph Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League. Some people are obsessed with the rights of sperm to fertilize eggs, and with fertilized eggs to implant. Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry says, "I don't think Christians should use birth control."

In fact, some in the antichoice movement have attacked others for not opposing contraception. As University of Dallas Professor Janet Smith says, "It is foolish for pro-lifers to think they can avoid the issue of contraception and s.e.xual irresponsibility and be successful in the fight against abortion."1 Clearly, their logic is backward: Obviously, the way to eliminate abortion is to eliminate unwanted pregnancy. They should ardently support support birth control, but they don't. Probable Presidential candidate Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) says he cannot support availability of the Pil . During a recent Senate debate intended to minimize contraceptive coverage by insurance plans, Senator d.i.c.k Durbin (D-IL) said, "I was stunned when I came to Congress many years ago to find that the people most vehemently opposed to abortion were equal y opposed to contraception. How can that make sense?"2 birth control, but they don't. Probable Presidential candidate Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) says he cannot support availability of the Pil . During a recent Senate debate intended to minimize contraceptive coverage by insurance plans, Senator d.i.c.k Durbin (D-IL) said, "I was stunned when I came to Congress many years ago to find that the people most vehemently opposed to abortion were equal y opposed to contraception. How can that make sense?"2 WHY REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS?.

Other than your partner, and possibly your mother, why would anyone-especially a stranger-care about whether or not you use a condom, keep emergency contraception (EC) on hand, or have an abortion?

It starts with a belief that the only legitimate purposes of s.e.x are reproduction and marital intimacy. Contraception symbolizes s.e.x for other purposes, that is, pleasure. Thus, an attack on contraception is an attack on s.e.x-for-pleasure.

And that's what the battle over reproductive rights is al about-limiting s.e.x for pleasure.

30.So forget "pro-life." Forget "birth control pills cause cancer." Forget "condoms don't protect against a broken heart." Listen to what else the antis.e.x conservatives are saying: * "When people are less afraid of s.e.x, they have it more."

* "Birth control causes promiscuity."

* "People need to understand that their actions have consequences."

* "G.o.d doesn't want anyone using birth control or getting an abortion."

These are not public health messages. They are the strategic thinking of people trying to control the amount and type of s.e.x that everyone everyone has. has.

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