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February 06, 2011

Comments

Highly pertinent post by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

It's been some time since I read "What Hath God Wrought," but my recollection is that in the mid-19th century men actually lived longer than women. As a society, the Western world has obviously made significant strides in reducing maternal deaths. (In Afghanistan some 1,800 women die every year per 100,000 births.) This is excellent news. But it can not obscure perhaps the most specific and nameable species of male privilege--of all the things that may one day kill me, pregnancy is not among them.

This is the era of internet intellectuals, mostly dudes, who excel at analogizing easily accessible facts to buttress their points. It's a good skill to have, and one I employ myself. But it isn't wisdom. Like most people, I have deep problems with the termination of life--and that is what I believe abortion to be. Still a decade ago, I learned that those problems were abstract, and could not stand against something as tangible and imposing as death.

My embrace of a pro-choice stance is not built on analogizing Rick Santorum with Hitler. It is not built on what the pro-life movement is "like." It's built on set of disturbing and inelidable truths: My son is the joy of my life. But the work of ushering him into this world nearly killed his mother. The literalism of that last point can not be escaped.

Hah. Beaten to it. I was just about to post that, matt.

To finish off the TNC post mattt quotes above:

Every day women choose to do the hard labor of a difficult pregnancy. Its courageous work, which inspires in me a degree of admiration exceeded only by my horror at the notion of the state turning that courage, that hard labor, into a mandate. Women die performing that labor in smaller numbers as we advance, but they die all the same. Men do not. That is a privilege.
But it can not obscure perhaps the most specific and nameable species of male privilege--of all the things that may one day kill me, pregnancy is not among them.

Interesting. With pregnancy-related death rates at about 14.5 per 100k live births, the number of women that die each year from this is in the hundreds.

Prostate cancer kills ~30k people (all men, I'd guess) per year. Breast cancer kills ~40k people (mostly women; again: guessing) per year.

I'm not saying there's no extra hazard, there, but risk of dying is noise-level compared with other ways of dying. And of course not trying to take anything away from the other taxing aspects of carrying a child inside your body. But "of all the things that may kill me one day, prostate cancer is not one of them" isn't something I hear women say particularly frequently, or at all. Nor do I hear (thankfully) men sighing with relief that their risk of breast cancer is minimal compared with that of women. That whole conversation sounds entirely too much like "thank God it's not me" for my taste.

But TNC might have had some other flavor in mind when he wrote that.

What the TNC post reminds me of is a story I heard a couple of years ago on the radio about previously "pro-life" women, some pretty radically so, who, when faced with their own problematic pregnancies, came to realize what kind of decision it was that they were trying to make for other women. The abstraction of their previous opposition to (legal) abortion appeared trivial in light of the very real issues they had come to face.

Something somewhat related to that, which I've been thinking about, is that society can function quite well with legal abortion. Those of us who have been born already have little, if anything, to fear from legal abortion, or, more precisely, the legality of abortion. But with abortion outlawed, many women, on any given day, would face some very real and grim prospects because of the illegality of abortion. I don't see much of a case for that not representing societal dysfunction.

That's not to say that overly high (let's assume we can agree on a definition for that) abortion rates couldn't also represent societal dysfunction. But I think that sort of dysfunction could be best addressed in ways other than outlawing abortion, and would stem from factors other than the simple legality of abortion, as I think is evidenced in Doc Sci's post.

With pregnancy-related death rates at about 14.5 per 100k live births, the number of women that die each year from this is in the hundreds.

That could change for the worse were abortion further restricted. And what percentage of women are pregnant in any given year, as opposed to the percentage with breast tissue, or the percentage of men with prostates?

Surprisingly, the per-100k death rate for prostate cancer for men comes in right around 20. Breast cancer comes in around 28.

I'm not sure I believe any of what I've said above; I could be working with faulty numbers, or I could have made a math error. Feel free to work it out yourselves.

I thought HSH had made a telling point, there, at 1:37 PM, and it is an excellently made point, but the way the math works out, it's not as telling as it first appeared.

Slarti: True, but at least men don't have people telling them that prostate cancer is the fulfillment of God's plan, their highest destiny and a requirement for the species. (Well, I don't, anyway, and I hope you don't either.)

sapient:

Under Roe v. Wade, no one has to prove anything in order to obtain an abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Many states have waiting periods and counseling requirements intended to prove that a woman seeking an abortion has heard every possible argument for not having an abortion. Some states have spousal notification requirements, although it's not clear whether those are constitutional. Some states have recently considered laws mandating that a woman seeking an abortion have a mandatory ultrasound (whether it's medically necessary or not), apparently to prove that they have considered this decision the way legislators want it considered. Again, those haven't been tested in federal court, but very few restrictions and conditions for even pre-third trimester abortions have been struck down since Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

Marty:

I am both anti-abortion and pro-choice and I find nothing inconsistent in that view.

I do, because I don't know what you mean by "anti-abortion".

I mean, I'm anti- "someone waking up in an icewater bath, missing a kidney", but that doesn't make me anti-kidney transplants. How can you be anti- a particular medical procedure? One that on occasion saves lives?

I also don't think teaching contraception to fifth graders is a brilliant idea unless the parent has decided that fifth grader is mature enough to have the right kind of conversation about the subject.

My experience as a parent is that 5th-graders these days do in fact need to know that contraception exists, what general types are available, and who to talk to about it, because a non-trivial number of the girls are past menarche.

They *certainly* IMHO need to know that most of the adults of their acquaintance use contraception and consider it a crucial part of an adult relationship, which they're not ready for yet.

I also think that having a discussion about the common sense of abstinence along with any contraception discussion should be mandatory.

The way it's usually done in the US, I have to disagree -- but I'll put that in another post, I think.

Hogan, my comments referred to the decision of Roe v. Wade itself, not the subsequent chipping away at it.

Roe held (and Blackmun reaffirmed his own view) that during the first trimester the only parties involved in an abortion decision should be a woman and her physician; during the second trimester, a state can intrude only to the extent that would institutionally assist in providing for the health of the mother (in other words, requiring licensed facilities, etc.); and in the third trimester, the state has an interest protecting a viable fetus, but that interest never overrides the life or health of the mother.

I don't consider the kinds of obstacles you mention as being consistent with Roe v. Wade, although of course you're right that some have been upheld. Still, women don't have to prove anything in order to obtain an abortion during the first two trimesters, even if they do have to put up with humiliating b.s. (The fact that poor women have to come up with money to pay for the procedure is, of course, an injustice.)

True, but at least men don't have people telling them that prostate cancer is the fulfillment of God's plan, their highest destiny and a requirement for the species.

Good point.

There are some people that say things like that, but they are, blessedly, a relatively very small portion of the population.

"I do, because I don't know what you mean by "anti-abortion"."

Really? You have no idea? Or you just don't know to what extent I am anti-abortion? What exactly is your question?

Well, I think that abortion is the taking of a life. So, I am against it. That means that there are few reasons I think it is a good idea. There are some(life of the mother, rape). None of them include the convenience of an adult woman who had consentual sex.

All that aside, I am still supportive of the individuals right to make that choice. I just don't have to agree with it.

My experience as a parent is that 5th-graders these days do in fact need to know that contraception exists, what general types are available, and who to talk to about it, because a non-trivial number of the girls are past menarche.

They *certainly* IMHO need to know that most of the adults of their acquaintance use contraception and consider it a crucial part of an adult relationship, which they're not ready for yet.

I don't disagree with this, I disagree that it is the place of anyone outside the parents to make the decision that a particular fifth (fourth/sixth) grader was ready for that discussion. Sorry, if that wasn't clear.

I disagree that it is the place of anyone outside the parents to make the decision that a particular fifth (fourth/sixth) grader was ready for that discussion.

Why should we believe that parents are particularly skilled at getting such questions right? I mean, when the parents screw up teaching their kids about birth control, we all suffer.

And what exactly is the problem with children learning about sex-ed before they're "ready"? Seriously, I don't understand why this is a problem. Can someone explain?

For example, we don't generally give parents the ability to decide when their kids learn about the Holocaust. It seems to me that learning about the Holocaust is much, much more traumatic than learning about sex ed....

"Why should we believe that parents are particularly skilled at getting such questions right? I mean, when the parents screw up teaching their kids about birth control, we all suffer."

Sorry if you suffer. But the question always amazes me, particularly in this context.

I mean, why should we believe that the woman, who is the very best person to decide whether this child should be born or not, is capable of assessing the emotional maturity of said child to determine a good time to have this discussion?

No, we should leave that to the government to decide.

Along with whether they should have a toy in the McDonalds Happy Meal.

Sorry if you suffer. But the question always amazes me, particularly in this context.

The point is not my suffering. The point is that a lot of parents are bad parents and fail to teach their children sex ed. As a result, their children suffer, and cost society a lot of money, which I have to help pay for. I don't want to have to care that children learn sex ed, but I do because parents in this country keep failing in their jobs.

I would expect a conservative, of all people, to appreciate the problems of incompetent people failing to do their jobs properly and saddling the rest of us with their problems.

I mean, why should we believe that the woman, who is the very best person to decide whether this child should be born or not, is capable of assessing the emotional maturity of said child to determine a good time to have this discussion?

Again, please explain to me, what is the specific problem with teaching children sex ed too early? This is the second time I've had to ask. Will I have to ask several more times or will two times do the trick?

No, we should leave that to the government to decide.

I'm confused. Are you saying that children should not be taught any emotionally significant material without their parents' written consent? Do you really think that history class shouldn't cover war or crime or the civil rights movement or the existence of other religions than Christianity?

So, having re-read most of Roe (I skipped the historical discussion of abortion), including the dissent, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey's syllabus, confirms to me my view above that none of justices in those two cases fully grappled with the effect of fully criminalizing abortion.

They all seem to adopt the balancing test of Roe, where the woman has some rights and the fetus has some rights, and differ when and under what standard the state may intervene. Under the Roe majority, the right of a pregnant woman to end her pregnancy is "fundamental" and a state cannot interfere with that right until its interest becomes sufficiently "compelling," which is after the first trimester for such things as licensing the doctors who terminate a pregnancy, and after the second trimester for purposes of criminalizing abortion altogether (except in cases for life/health of the mother). Casey allows certain conditions/restrictions so long as they do not constitute an "undue burden" (whatever that means).

Under the dissent's view in both Roe and Casey (I think), the right to end a pregnancy is part of the liberty interest generally protected by the 14th amendment but not a "fundamental" right. As such, a state can intervene to circumscribe the interest so long as it has a rational basis for doing so. Since protecting the fetus is such a basis, criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy is permissible (perhaps with a constitutional requirement to have an exception to protect the life of the pregnant woman).

This kind of balancing of individual vs. state interests with respect to citizens and their rights, fundamental or otherwise, may make a certain sort of sense in most cases, where allowing a state to curtail, say, first amendment rights in the presence of a compelling state interest affects those rights and those rights alone.

I would submit (to the extent anyone cares), however, that's not the case with criminalizing abortion. The justices seem to think that the only considerations are the 14th amendment due process rights of the woman and the ability of the state to circumscribe those rights by intervening on behalf of the fetus, and that's it. But that analysis fails to consider what position a decision permitting states to wholly criminalize abortion leaves the pregnant woman.

As I say above, such a decision subjects the woman to involuntary servitude, in violation of the 13th amendment because it has not been imposed as punishment for a crime for which she has been duly convicted. Further, forced pregnancy and childbirth is akin to torture and thus unconstitutional if inflicted by the state.

If that's the case, then abortion bans fail even under the Roe/Casey dissents' rational basis standard, because the method by which a state effects the ban is itself unconstitutional. That is, the state's interest cannot be constitutionally vindicated and thus it is without a remedy.

Further, I don't such a view leaves room for a state to impose things like waiting periods, spousal notifications, parental consent, songram viewings, etc., as the same unconstitutional conditions are being imposed.

I mean, maybe I'm wrong about this and there are other situations where the state can constitutionally force involuntary servitude* and torture upon someone, but I can't think of any.

*There is the draft, which has been upheld as not violating the 13th Amendment's involuntary servitude bar, but that seems hard to square with the text and don't have time to review the SCOTUS decision upholding the draft (tho' I imagine the reasining is that its an "ok" constitutional violation because of a compelling state interest, or maybe that banning the draft is not what the drafters of the 13th A. had in mind despite its language sort of thing).

Anyway, sorry for the long comment.

No, we should leave that to the government to decide.

You mean our elected representatives, be they federal, state or local? To decide what gets taught in public schools? And, as Turb already asked, not in so many words, what's so special about sex ed as opposed to all the other potentially gross, upsetting, weird, icky, uncomfortable, or disturbing stuff we have to teach our kids for them to get a worthwhile education?

" And, as Turb already asked, not in so many words, what's so special about sex ed as opposed to all the other potentially gross, upsetting, weird, icky, uncomfortable, or disturbing stuff we have to teach our kids for them to get a worthwhile education?"

It's different than history, or even the biology of sex. Use of condoms is not a trigonometry class. Sex education is different. It is not gross, upsetting, or icky or disturbing. It should be personal, and intimate and sensitive.

It should not be something we should have labs on at school.

And what exactly is the problem with children learning about sex-ed before they're "ready"?

What's the problem with parents being the arbiter of what materials their children are exposed to? Why should a child's parents have to justify their preferences to others?

I do think there's an age where a child should possess some minimum knowledge of sex, notably conception and contraception. I'm completely open to a discussion about what that age should be.

It should not be something we should have labs on at school.

Why not?


And, just to be clear, are you now saying that you oppose all sex-ed in schools? Before it seemed like you objected to schools deciding what age to start sex-ed, but now it seems that you're opposed to sex-ed even for high school seniors. Is that right?

Well Turb, I think that the biology of sex is appropriate at some age of course. Sex education is aa pretty broad term so I would say that some level of sex education in high school would be appropriate, but I am not sure that mandatory sex education(without parental consent to curriculum) is necessary.

What's the problem with parents being the arbiter of what materials their children are exposed to?

Parents find it difficult to talk to their children about sex. It is psychologically hard for them. As a result, they tend not to do it. Either at all, or at least not early enough. In my experience, parents consistently underestimate how much their kids know about sex. They suffer from willful ignorance. And their kids suffer as a result.

Moreover, we don't seem to apply this "my kids must be forbidden from learning X!" approach in any other area besides sex-ed, so I'm curious: why the difference? It seems like there's a belief that teaching children sex-ed before they're "ready" damages them somehow...how? Is this the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Why should a child's parents have to justify their preferences to others?

In the general case, parents need to justify their decisions because children are part of society, and society has obligations to children. Children are not property of their parents. That's why if you refuse to feed your kid, you damn well better justify your "preferences" to others, because society is going to put you in prison.

In the case of sex-ed, if parents in the US had a good record of teaching their children sex-ed at an appropriate age, I'd have no interest in having schools do it. But they don't. There are lots of teenagers in this country who believe absurd wrong things because (1) their parents never bothered to talk to them honestly about sex (perhaps their kids were never "ready" for it) and (2) their parents enrolled them in school districts that don't teach proper sex ed. Ensuring that your kid has age-appropriate sex-ed is part of the job of parents and many many parents fail: they do a bad job as parents. The consequences of their failure are borne by their children and the rest of us taxpayers. I'm sorry, but I don't want to keep paying for parents' failures.

I do think there's an age where a child should possess some minimum knowledge of sex, notably conception and contraception.

What are the negative consequences of teaching them sex-ed if they haven't quite reached that age yet? I've asked Marty three times now and he hasn't been able to answer so maybe you can help.

I do think there's an age where a child should possess some minimum knowledge of sex, notably conception and contraception. I'm completely open to a discussion about what that age should be.

How about "When they're old enough to have sex"?

" I've asked Marty three times now and he hasn't been able to answer so maybe you can help."

Well, I only count twice but... the answer is that, I BELIEVE, that bad teaching at the wrong age can have bad emotional results. I don't worry about that as much if they get a bad math teacher in fourth grade, despite the negative impact that has.

Yeah, but they're going to get bad teaching at that age no matter what, from the internet, from friends, from music, from the culture at large.

I BELIEVE, that bad teaching at the wrong age can have bad emotional results.

I'm sorry but I don't understand. How exactly would that work? Have you ever seen anyone, anywhere who has suffered severe emotional trauma from a sex-ed class?

It seems like you're suggesting that sex-ed information is magical in that it can hurt people and I just don't understand how that could work in the general case.

I mean, we all have beliefs, but I try not to talk about my beliefs unless I have a rational basis for them.

"I mean, we all have beliefs, but I try not to talk about my beliefs unless I have a rational basis for them."


ok.

I do agree with this:

Ensuring that your kid has age-appropriate sex-ed is part of the job of parents

I am not sure yhat "many many" is supportable:

and many many parents fail: they do a bad job as parents.

and, really, this is my point:

their parents enrolled them in school districts that don't teach proper sex ed.

although probably not the way you meant it.

I think that kids are more likely to be traumatized by bad sex ed they get from their parents--the devastating silence being one form of education that teaches a devastating message--sex is too awful/ mysterious/ fascinating to discuss rationally and therefore is relegated to the realm of the not-planned for and not-thought about (though deeply desired).

It seems we have two issues mingling here: who gets to decide what kids learn in school, and at what age they should learn those things. Or maybe the question is simply who gets to decide at what age kids should be allowed to learn certain things, assuming that we agree that they should be learning those things at some point.

The very idea of public schools puts the direct decisions about what kids learn in schools and when in the hands of, broadly speaking, "the government." Of course, it is a democratic government, and we have some collective input into the decisions it makes. I don't think anyone is suggesting that no one should ever disagree with any decision the local school board or the state or federal government might make on such matters, sex ed or otherwise, or that, if they do disagree, that they should remain forever silent about it.

So how do we arrive at appropriate ages for various subjects to be taught? I don't think it's by asking all the parents what they think and choosing the highest age suggested among all suggested. I don't think it's by teaching each kid whatever each kid's parents think their kid should learn at whatever age. I think there has to be a good faith effort to make an objective determination that a sufficient number of people can live with.

Were I to begin an attempt to arrive at the appropriate age for teaching a given subject, I would start with the age at which I would expect the child to be able to grasp the material intellectually. There's a minimum. After that, depending on the nature of the subject, I'd go with emotional readiness. Beyond that, I don't know. That might be it.

As to fifth graders learning about, say, condoms, I guess it would depend on the level of detail. I don't know what sort of laboratory-based material would have to be presented. I'm not sure what that would ential - maybe anatomically correct mannequins? That might be a bit much. Has anyone heard of such a thing? Are the boys being sent into the bathroom to put condoms on, or what?

I mean, if it's just a matter of being told generally what condoms are and how they work, I don't see the big deal, particularly if there's already agreement that the biology of sex is appropriate subject matter for fifth graders. So long as you can discuss penises, semen, sperm and vaginas (and micro-organisms that cause STDs), what's the big deal about saying you put a condom on your penis to block the semen containing the sperm from entering the vagina to prevent preganancy (and block exchanges of micro-organisms to prevent STDs)?

Boy, I remember when my wife was preganant. That was something. She couldn't spell or type.

HSH --

Believe it or not, they use bananas.

Doctor Science, you mean they make children roll a condom over a banana? Doesn't that scar them for life? Do all the children have to get rushed to a psychiatric hospital in an ambulance from the terrible trauma of it all? I mean, some of those children must not be "ready" so I can't bear to imagine the unspeakable damage that might occur.

I ate two bananas today. What are the chances?

Turb, don't forget allergies, to bananas or latex. Dangers abound.

But yes, such "lab work" is a high-school thing, not 5th grade.

I can't remember where I first heard this point, but there's some evidence that parents are in fact the *worst* people to teach their children about sex. The reluctance of parents to talk (and children to listen) may not merely reflect parental squeamishness, but a true, instinctive incest taboo. So saying "children should learn about sex from their parents" is the same as saying "children shouldn't learn much about sex".

Yes, intimacy is personal and important. But it's also very important to know stuff like what your (and the other sex's) parts are *called* and what they do. One of the standard modern teaching techniques is to go around the room and make the (high school) students say the names of various body parts out loud, to de-sensitize them so that they can talk to a doctor if they have to.

It should be personal, and intimate and sensitive.

Is Marty confusing sex ed with actual sex?

How can you be anti- a particular medical procedure? One that on occasion saves lives?

This is where you lose me. Is abortion really just a medical procedure to you? Or did I miss your analogy.

Moreover, we don't seem to apply this "my kids must be forbidden from learning X!" approach in any other area besides sex-ed, so I'm curious: why the difference? It seems like there's a belief that teaching children sex-ed before they're "ready" damages them somehow...how? Is this the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

There is a highly organized movement that tries to forbid to even talk about a lot of things they do not like at school (evolution is just the tip of the iceberg).
An important part of the homeschooling ideology* is to keep the children 'safe' from knowledge that the parents consider harmful to their souls, minds and bodies (usually in that order). Financial problems (of parents and/or schools) are a distant second.
---
Over here there is a nearly 100% overlap of those that claim that sex-ed should be the sole responsibility of parents with those that will under no circumstances teach their own kids about sex. Until rather recently the theory was in pious (Roman Catholic) circles that the priest should explain the biological facts to couples going to marry in the preparatory meeting (there are even f-ing manuals for that**).
The Bavarian Ministry of Education got its windows broken once a week for some time by a catholic organisation (not officially endorsed by the church) that demanded to cease all sex education in all schools for everyone. For them an 'individual opt-out' (not legal either) was not enough. Public Sex-ed had to be denied in general.
Today it is more a problem for traditional Muslims but the state takes a hard line on that. One could say over here it is actually a crime to keep certain information from children. That does not mean that there is no dispute about appropriate age but that's another cup of fermented leaves.


*I exempt here those parents that do homeschooling because there is no acceptable school available. I know of some liberals doing it because the public schools in their area have been taken over by religious and political fundamentalists that even steep so low as to incite other 'conservative' children to beat up the offspring of liberals.
**couldn't resist the pun

I forgot something I wanted to put in the previous post.
I would also consider myself anti-abortion but pro-choice. This in the sense that any abortion that can be avoided reasonably should be. That means great efforts should be taken to avoid a situation where an abortion becomes a reasonable choice. That does not mean that the primary choice should be taken away from the persons directly involved except in extreme circumstances (e.g. when the woman is provably unable to make an informed choice)

What are the negative consequences of teaching them sex-ed if they haven't quite reached that age yet?

The negative consequences are "no". See, the thing about being a parent is that I am responsible for my child, not you. I get to decide; you don't.

So it's not so much me having to explain myself to you; it's that I am unconvinced by you. That you are unconvinced by me doesn't matter to me in the least, because it's my decision. Well, my wife's, too, but we tend to agree on this point more often than not.

As having friends who teach at the high school level, and friends who teach at the elementary school level - 5th graders are having sex. And those are just the ones that make the news.

They are sneaking to the auditorium to engage in sexual activities up to and including PIV intercourse.

This is the reality. Your little 11 year old boy or girl could possibly have a friend trying to encourage him/her to engage in something.

Either the state through the schools can teach them, parents can teach them, friends can teach them, or they can figure it out on their own. Those are the choices. The latter two are bad ones, IMO, for all that I was self-taught (my parents never really had a discussion with me, but didn't look askew at books I got from the library when I was curious). Which leaves us the first two - and well, anecdotally at least, it seems a lot of parents are failing the responsibility of teaching sex ed appropriately for the realities on the ground.

Versus the realities in their head, or for what they want their precious little angels to actually be. You can't make policy as if the normative world is the descriptive world.

Well you can. It just means the policy is FUBARed.

One point that I believe is important (probably because I learned a new word with it) is the observation that an increase in socio-economic development of a group or a nation correlates highly with a drop in the mean age of the onset of menarche.

This seems to underline DFS's observation above and it suggests that you have to teach children earlier, whether parents (like me) are happy about it or not. This article notes that the mean age of menarche in the US has dropped from just over 13 to just over 12. While you might argue that is a small change, it corresponds roughly to moving sex education from Junior High School to Elementary school.

This sex ed discussion is absolutely amazing to me. I'm flabbergasted. I don't even know what to say.

The "birds & the bees" conversation mostly does not happen and if by some minor miracle it does, it's probably poorly done/received. How do I know this, besides personal experience? Well, the teen pregnancy rate strongly suggests it (though from a historical perspective that's actually improved dramatically since the 50s. I wonder why? Could it be... contraceptives?)

I went through sex ed in highschool. I don't remember what grade... I think 9th. By that point, I "knew" some things about sex. Just enough to be dangerous, IIRC. I guess that stuff I heard on the school bus, read in books/magazines, saw on TV, whatever (pre-HS)... I guess they scarred me for life. Really messed me up!

FFS, this is ridiculous.

...it's that I am unconvinced by you.

Unconvinced of what, specifically?

The negative consequences are "no". See, the thing about being a parent is that I am responsible for my child, not you. I get to decide; you don't.

Yeah, I know a guy who is offended about his kids learning about subtraction in math class. He won't have it. He insists that it is "dangerous" to teach them about subtraction until they're "ready". When I asked what the danger is, he just says "No, I'm responsible for my child not you and I don't have to tell you anything". Subtraction kills apparently. Who knew?

Slarti, you're a smart guy, and I hope you realize, as a matter of logic: when you can't provide a logical justification for your policy preferences, that might indicate that they're garbage. You don't have to tell me anything and I don't have to tell you anything, but you've convinced me that you don't have a rational argument. I don't see how your irrational treatment of sex-ed serves your kids but hopefully your otherwise a good parent.

When I grew up (that is 3 decades ago) sex-ed stretched from elementary school to the end of highschool* (in the latter as part of biology). Iirc it started with the general idea of pregnancy long before it moved toward anatomy. The actual sex act came more or less last. In later years more and more details were added like venereal diseases, contraception, deviant** sexuality. AIDS was a late add-on because at the time it was still relatively new in our parts.
I think this is a very reasonable approach but as we have seen not long ago this very approach by Obama became the basis for a RW smear campaign of 'Obama wants to teach our toddlers to have intercourse'.
Btw, I did not witness a single case of teen pregnancy at the schools I attended and have heard of only one case that happened there before my time (and that girl was in her last year at school, i.e. about 17 years old).


*I'll ignore the differences between the German and Anglosaxon/American school system here
**meant in the neutral sense as deviating from the 'norm' without attaching a judgement of merit.

There is the moral debate and there is the legal debate. There is substantial overlap, but they're not the same thing.

There is also the political/historical debate. It is possible to simultaneously believe that
1) abortion should not be illegal
2) Roe v Wade is garbage as Constitutional law
3) absent Roe v Wade, abortion would have continued to become legal in more and more of the US via legislative action. We would still have a few places today where it is illegal (heck, we have "dry" counties left!). But we would have avoided a lot of the culture wars and the takeover of the Republican Party be the religious right.

Yes, the last is a counter-factual. But IMHO pretty persuasive nonetheless.

Uh, let's all try to avoid taking potshots at other posters' parenting skills, plz.

I think the religious right would have found something else instead. There 'needed to be' culture wars and this topic was just the most convenient. I see the culture wars more like the Southern Strategy, a tool to be used on the way to power.

Perhaps someone a lot younger and/or female and/or a parent can update me on something regarding sex-ed.

When I was in 5th grade (half a century ago, i.e. pre-Roe), one day they kicked all of the boys out of class for an hour or two, and the girls got a film and lesson. Does that still happen? Do the parents have to sign off? Is it, at least in part, sex-ed (i.e. girls get at least a little in school, but boys don't - at least at that point)?

Thank you, anyone with current info.

wj: It's hard to remember, but abortion wasn't even the religious right's issue until Francis Schaeffer made it so in the 1980s. When Roe v. Wade was decided, most Protestant evangelical organizations either supported it or were indifferent; opposition to abortion was considered a Catholic issue. The notion that Roe caused the rise of the religious right is a kind of founding myth.

There were several things that sparked the politicization of evangelical Protestants, but one of the main ones seems to have been the revocation of tax exemption for racially-segregated Christian schools. That is, this really was the Southern Strategy in another guise.

Unconvinced of what, specifically?

Unconvinced that I should let others, mostly complete strangers, make my choices for me.

Yeah, I know a guy who is offended about his kids learning about subtraction in math class.

Sorry, I don't believe you.

Slarti, you're a smart guy, and I hope you realize, as a matter of logic: when you can't provide a logical justification for your policy preferences, that might indicate that they're garbage.

This cuts both ways, I hope you realize. If you think that your preferences for the education of my children trumps (for example) mine, you're going to have to prove it to me. Not vice versa, note. I don't have to convince you that my way of raising my children is better than your ideas of how I should raise my children. I hope you can see the silliness in that kind of scenario.

Also note: it's always my prerogative to have a say in this. Always. I have a say in how the public schools form their sex ed programs, and if I don't care for that, there are other avenues open to me. The same is true of pretty much everyone else, at least in my state. So, even if I had remarkably stodgy views on exposing my kids to the fruit of knowledge of human sexuality, I could pretty much ensure that their education, to the degree I could control it, conformed to those views.

Similarly, I could constrain their mathematical education, were I somehow mathematically stodgy. They just wouldn't be able to pass any of the standard tests, and would be unable to enter college until they had, themselves, rectified the omissions in their education. This difficulty with obtaining things like a high school diploma and progressing on to college doesn't hold with sex education.

This difficulty with obtaining things like a high school diploma and progressing on to college doesn't hold with sex education.

Well, if one ends up pregnant or with a pregnant girlfriend while still in high school, it can certainly throw some monkey wrenches into the works.

Slarti, repeating over and over and over "ROAR! I have the POWER! I decide what information my children are exposed to!" is not advancing the conversation. We know you have the power. No one is questioning that.

The question is do you have any rational basis for insisting that your children not get age-appropriate sex-ed. So far, you haven't provided any. As a parent, I'd think that you'd want to make sure you acted rationally for your kids because when parents act irrationally, they tend to screw up and hurt their kids.

I'm sure you agree that my subtraction-hating friend is not being a good parent: he's screwing up his kids and making their life harder. And even though he has the authority to do so, that's not good for anyone. And I think his inability to explain the dangers of learning subtraction are a big warning sign: if you can't explain your actions, even to yourself, what the heck are you doing?

So again, no one is questioning your authority to shield your kids from anything. But I'm asking you about the wisdom of doing so in this very specific case. The mere exercise of power does not constitute wisdom.

it can certainly throw some monkey wrenches into the works

I agree.

wj, not a direct answer to your question, but I too was in 5th grade half a century ago, in Catholic school no less. One day without warning (I don't think the parents got any either) they kicked the boys out, but unlike in your experience, they did talk to the boys as well as the girls, just in a different classroom. They sent home a pamphlet -- I remember it vividly to this day -- "To the Parents of Fifth Graders."

I don’t think it was remotely what I would now call sex education. It told us girls that we would be having periods soon and that was about it. You certainly didn’t talk about sex in fifth grade in Catholic school in 1960 or 1961.

Bottom line, my sex education -- from parents, or school, or the world -- was for all practical purposes non-existent during my childhood years (to age 18), even setting aside the fact that my own flavor of sexuality was never so much as mentioned in the world I grew up in. A more reticent family than mine I don’t think you could find. My mother, one day when I was about 10 and with discomfort dripping everywhere, asked me if I had heard of periods from other girls. No, I hadn’t. She gave me a book to read. It did mention sexual intercourse, half-explicitly and half obliquely and in passing, and honest to any deity you would like to name, I did not believe it literally for one nanosecond. (Age 10.)

Later, sex was the initial and explicit trigger for my rebellion from the guilt-ridden puritanical world I grew up in. (Hey, I went to college from 1968-1972. What can I say.)

I was determined to do better by my kids in relation to sex education, and I tried, but I would much rather have had more help. (My kids were homeschooled. I may get to that later.)

An early opportunity came when Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive. We were rabid basketball fans; even my kids at ages 4 and 5 heard this news. My son sort of fearfully asked if he could get that sickness. My answer led to our first conversation about sex, and to one of the most hilarious and precious conversations we ever had. (Which will remain a private memory.)

After that I bought Usborne’s http://www.usborne.com/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?cat=1&area=S&subcat=SH&id=25>How Your Body Works and we looked at it a lot for a couple of years. The surprising and interesting thing to me was that the kids weren’t the slightest bit interested in the pages about sex, what they were obsessed with was babies and pregnancy. I don’t think the explicit mention of sex scarred them for life (to say the least), it just rolled off their backs until later, when they were “ready” for it.

This is anecdotal, and, especially as the parent of a family that homeschooled, I would like to say something about public policy in relation to sex education among other things. But this is too long already. Maybe later.

Slarti, repeating over and over and over "ROAR! I have the POWER! I decide what information my children are exposed to!"

Not only am I not doing that, but you should be aware that when you're trying to represent things that I have said, quotation marks should be reserved for actual statements of mine.

The question is do you have any rational basis for insisting that your children not get age-appropriate sex-ed.

Oh. That's the question? I thought the question was:

And what exactly is the problem with children learning about sex-ed before they're "ready"? Seriously, I don't understand why this is a problem. Can someone explain?

I think I've answered that one at length. The problem is: you don't get to decide; I do.

Now, if you're proposing that the current sex ed classes are just not advanced enough, and that you'd really like to have labs that somehow involve legal minors AND teachers without criminal repercussions, then...you know what? You have to convince me. No amount of attempted table-turning that demand that I explain myself is going to work here, I'm afraid.

insisting that your children not get age-appropriate sex-ed

Now you're moving goalposts. I have never once argued that my children not get age-appropriate sex ed. Sorry, but I haven't.

The mere exercise of power does not constitute wisdom.

Thanks for that little gem. The next time I want to be really insulting, I'll consider using it.

"2) Roe v Wade is garbage as Constitutional law"

wj, if you believe this, I'd like to know why. After all, seven out of the nine justices of the Supreme Court ruled with Blackmun; one justice concurred; only one justice dissented. It's "garbage"?

Sorry - actually there were two dissenters, but 7 justices joined the opinion of Blackmun, although there were more concurrences. That's what I get for reading the opinion online in a format I'm not accustomed to looking at.

when you're trying to represent things that I have said, quotation marks should be reserved for actual statements of mine.

My apologies. Obviously, you never said that and I did not mean to imply it was a quote.

I think I've answered that one at length. The problem is: you don't get to decide; I do.

You have not answered the question. An answer to the question would be a statement of the form 'the precise problem that occurs when children take a sex-ed class before their parents think they are "ready" is that the knowledge of sex causes psychological trauma that leads recurrent nightmares...' or something like that. Your "you don't get to decide; I do" answer is a good answer for a totally different question, namely 'Who has the authority to specify how Slarti's children are educated'.

Now, if you're proposing that the current sex ed classes are just not advanced enough, and that you'd really like to have labs that somehow involve legal minors AND teachers without criminal repercussions, then...you know what?

Slarti, I'm not a child molester. I have no interest in child molesting. I have no interest whatsoever in teachers having sex with children. No one here does. No one. I don't know what makes you think that people you've been talking to for years are actually child molesters or people who want to institute universal child molestation programs in schools, but you are very very wrong.

Take a look at my first few comments in this thread. Marty objected to schools teaching sex-ed to children, especially before they're "ready". I asked him to explain what harm comes from teaching students sex-ed before they're "ready". That's not an advocacy for any change in sex-ed programs at all.

Thanks for that little gem. The next time I want to be really insulting, I'll consider using it.

Why? You're really good at implying that people are child molesters based on nothing, so I think you've got insults covered.


So, if someone really does want to have a conversation about when it's okay to teach kids what about sex, how about it? Maybe if everyone got a bit more specific, we'd find that there's really not much disagreement.

This whole lab thing is bizzare, btw. How did we go from high school kids putting condoms on bananas to teachers doing something or other of a criminal nature with minors? C'mon...

You have not answered the question.

I answered the question you originally asked. That you don't care for the answer, or are otherwise unsatisfied with it, is not really my problem.

The question of why one wouldn't want their child to get sex education before they were "ready", as you put it, is self-answering: because they're not ready. Your definition of ready and mine might vary, and I'm not going to presume what yours is, or presume that you know and agree with mine, so it's pointless to answer it any more deeply than I did.

I don't know what makes you think that people you've been talking to for years are actually child molesters or people who want to institute universal child molestation programs in schools, but you are very very wrong.

Really? That's what you got from my comment? That wasn't what I was saying at all. I was simply pointing a possible why not on the question of sex ed labs in schools. A question you asked, recall.

This whole lab thing is bizzare, btw

I agree, but it wasn't my idea.

You're really good at implying that people are child molesters based on nothing, so I think you've got insults covered.

Oh, for Pete's sake. Really? Verbal retaliation for an imagined slight? This is what you're doing, here?

Okay. So, Slart, what, if anything, about sex do you think it is appropriate to teach, say, fifth graders in public schools?

is it really necessary to demonstrate how to put a condom on? some things just seem kind of, well, obvious.

maybe it's just me.

plus, a banana? in many folks' cases, seems like that could lead to some unrealistic expectations. just saying.

also - my general impression of sex ed from when I was a kid was that moms and dads were grateful to have a relatively neutral way to bring the whole topic up.

maybe that was a mass and unjustified foisting of responsibility off onto the public sector, but the sighs of relief were palpable, if not audible.

next day, the boldest boys asked the boldest girls what they had seen in *their* presentation, and vice versa. the more bashful among us were in awe.

Re: the kicking the boys out & talking to the girls... I do vaguely recall that they split us up for at least part of the sex ed class. Some was together, some apart.

This was in public HS, in CT, in ~1990. I recall being told about the various risks (pregnancy, disease, and emotional issues - as in, basically, sex may mean 1 thing to a person and another to another) and taught how to use a condom (don't recall how that was illustrated). I remember them telling us about the failure rates of each contraceptive, and which ones offered what protections vs. disease.

It was pretty good, IMO, though probably too late (freshman year of HS, I was 13-14).

Russell,

It's pretty important to get it on the right way (instead of inside out) and to make sure there isn't an air pocket at the tip. Some basic instruction is useful there, I think.

Wow, interesting post and comments.

Not that anyone cares, but since I'm making comments I'll state that my thinking on abortion is along the lines of Marty's, anti-abortion (I don't favor it but view it as a personal decision anyone should be at liberty to make within reasonable constraints imposed by law to protect viable unborn).

Since Turbulence has raised the notion of psychological trauma related to the sex ed process, I would like to point out that there are very real potentials for such among those who have abortions, as they may have second thoughts or deeper thoughts later in life about what that process was actually about.

As I read the comments on sex ed, I reflected on a recent conversation I had with my son-in-law regarding his two teen-agers and what he and my daughter have told them. For him this conversation presented no problems or awkwardness since he enters the process while they are all observing the various reproductive activities of the farm animals, horses and cattle, principally. This includes breeding and birthing and presents a good opportunity to address the biological processes and issues from an animal perspective, to point out the difference between animals lacking rational abilities and humans who, although having similar hormonal urges, still have potential to control their instincts. Beyond these observations then he is able to build on the moral and behavioral implications of human sexual actions, including religious teaching related to marriage and family. Most of this happens early enough that discussion of some of the more mechanical aspects of birth control and disease prevention in school is pretty routine.

The rural life has some benefits.

plus, a banana? in many folks' cases, seems like that could lead to some unrealistic expectations. just saying.

Maybe a carrot?

Father O'Donnell's anatomy class:

"Mary Margaret Quinn, what organ of the human body grows to eight times its normal size when aroused?"

"Oh, Father, I can't answer that! Not in front of the lads!"

"Very well. Jimmy O'Casey, what organ of the human body grows to eight times its normal size when aroused?"

"'Tis the pupil of the eye, Father."

"Very good, Jimmy. Mary Margaret, I've got three things to tell you. The first is you've got a lot to learn about anatomy. The second is you've got a filthy mind. And the third is you're in for a life of bitter disappointment."

Pedophilia and sex education? Interesting topics. Anybody have any reliable stats on the incidence of pedophila among the general population? Among public school teachers (maybe this would come in the form of incidence of complaints among public vs private school teachers)? The stats I have were privately developed by an institutional client. Defining pedophilia as an adult sexually attracted to children 17 or under, the perceived incidence is 6 in 100, with 3 in 100 acting in one form or another on their inclination. There are obvious significant differences between a pedophile whose interest is in post pubescent subjects vs. infants and small children, but still I was very surprised at the numbers. Much higher than I would have expected. Back to work.

Since Turbulence has raised the notion of psychological trauma related to the sex ed process, I would like to point out that there are very real potentials for such among those who have abortions, as they may have second thoughts or deeper thoughts later in life about what that process was actually about.

This has been very frequently stated, but never actually proven. If you have some empirical evidence to back up these "very real potentials," GOB, I'd be interested in seeing them.

Defining pedophilia as an adult sexually attracted to children 17 or under, the perceived incidence is 6 in 100, with 3 in 100 acting in one form or another on their inclination.

If an adult is anyone 18 years or older, that would mean 18 to, say, 24 year olds who are attracted to 17 year olds are pedophiles. Maybe that study somehow accounted for that sort of thing, but, if not, 6 in 100 doesn't sound overly high to me at first glance.

wj:

I checked the "Family Life" curricula of some NJ schools. They all have separate boys & girls classes in 5th grade, and often in 4th as well, to explain the physical changes of puberty. Some are starting to introduce some of this material in 3rd grade, which I can see as important given how rapidly some girls are developing these days.

All districts notify parents several weeks before the unit starts, so the parents can opt their children out if they prefer.

Marty:

This is absolutely the kind of education that I think should *not* be left to parents as a default. Not only because a lot of parents won't (for one reason or another) tell their kid what's coming before it happens, but because not all kids are on the same schedule. The whole class needs to know that their bodies are changing, that it's normal and natural, and (very important) that being "early" or "late" isn't a bad or wrong thing.

The rural life has some benefits.

Indeed it does, including a higher teen pregnancy rate, at least according to the CDC. Mind you the correlation is maybe less rural/urban and more related to poverty and quality of education, but still.

Also, FWIW, among developed nations, the US has the highest rate of live births to 17-and-under women by a HUGE margin. Nearly double that of the UK, and four times as much as Germany or France. So we're definitely doing something wrong that other countries are doing right.


So we're definitely doing something wrong that other countries are doing right.

Not enough atheism?

I answered the question you originally asked. That you don't care for the answer, or are otherwise unsatisfied with it, is not really my problem.

You answered the question with a non-sequitor, i.e., not a real answer.

Look, if you don't know what the answer is, just say "I don't know". But pretending that "You don't get to decide" is a serious answer to "What specific harm comes from taking a sex-ed class to early?" is just absurd.

The question of why one wouldn't want their child to get sex education before they were "ready", as you put it, is self-answering: because they're not ready.

But that's not a question I asked. Of course people don't want their kids to do ANYTHING before they think their kids are ready for it. That's a tautology. When discussing whether schools should offer sex-ed classes though, the harm that comes from teaching too early matters and that's what I'm trying to get at. We know what harm comes from teaching too late: misinformation, unwanted pregnancy, disease, etc. So what is the harm from teaching too early? If the answer is "none", then I don't see what we gain by eliminating sex-ed classes or by postponing them so late that they're ineffective.

Really? That's what you got from my comment? That wasn't what I was saying at all. I was simply pointing a possible why not on the question of sex ed labs in schools. A question you asked, recall.

Slarti, I'm going to ask of you something that is going to be very difficult for you. I want you to assume that Marty and I are the sort of people who think that raping children is wrong. Can you give us that courtesy? Or is that too difficult?

You see, if you had given us that courtesy before, you would not have suggested universal child rape as a potential problem. In the context of the discussion, I thought it was pretty obvious that 'lab' referred to stuff like putting a banana on a condom. And I'm thought it was extremely obvious that no one was in favor of having school teachers have sex with millions of children all across the country. But if you were honestly, sincerely confused about that, let me clarify: no one is in favor of that. Normal people didn't consider it because it is insane.

I agree, but it wasn't my idea.

Labs (as in, condom on a banana) were not your idea. Child rape on a massive scale where millions of teachers have sex with tens of millions of students? That was your idea. Take responsibility. No one here was thinking that. Except for you.

...I thought it was pretty obvious that 'lab' referred to stuff like putting a banana on a condom.

See what happens when you wait too long for sex ed classes?

hsh, to be fair, the banana really enjoys it that way. Much less permanent than getting all those piercings.

I would like to point out that there are very real potentials for such among those who have abortions, as they may have second thoughts or deeper thoughts later in life about what that process was actually about.

Right. So no one ever has second thoughts about who they married, or how many kids they did or didn't have, or the college they chose to go to, or the fact that they chose not to go to college at all, or whether the job they took straight out of college was a bad career choice, or they preferred the rural life to the city life after all?

People may have second thoughts later in life about practically everything.

So what?

Defining pedophilia as an adult sexually attracted to children 17 or under

"Attracted to," or "having a preference for"? Because the former seems like a very loose definition to me.

Hogan, it's sexual attraction, not attraction. To round out the definition a bit more, it's an adult who, throughout adulthood, has a sexual attraction to children 17 and under. Not 18 year olds dating 17 year olds, although it can be an 18 year old who is attracted to 7 year olds.

On the subject of collective vs parental decision-making about what children learn and when, for anyone who might be interested, the http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/07-1528-01A.pdf>Parker v. Hurley decision is interesting and readable.

'So what?'

All of what you listed is true and could cause regret if one thought later that they should have made a different decision. None on the list appears to have a significantly moral dimension as the act of abortion might if one decided later in life that they had committed an act that was morally wrong.

All of what you listed is true and could cause regret if one thought later that they should have made a different decision. None on the list appears to have a significantly moral dimension as the act of abortion might if one decided later in life that they had committed an act that was morally wrong.

And so we should...?

OK folks, I just put up a new post for the sex ed discussion, so move over there for that one, and we can keep the abortion discussion here.

None on the list appears to have a significantly moral dimension as the act of abortion might if one decided later in life that they had committed an act that was morally wrong.

I disagree. Many decisions and choices we make, especially about sex and relationships, may have a significant moral dimension. Or at least in my morality they may.

Decisions about jobs, career paths, living situations, and child-raising ditto.

It seems to me that there is always the potential for a moral dimension to questions of how we treat other people, non-human beings, and the earth itself. I don't see that abortion is in a class by itself in this regard.

Child rape on a massive scale where millions of teachers have sex with tens of millions of students? That was your idea.

Do tell. Cite, please, and also the English to Klingon to Mandarin to English path that you took to derive that meaning from anything that I said. Plus added pharmaceuticals.

Seriously, Turbulence: you have to get off of this. It's not anything close to what I said. But you already know that.

None on the list appears to have a significantly moral dimension as the act of abortion might if one decided later in life that they had committed an act that was morally wrong.

GOB, are you advocating for something here? Is this just a general cautionary tale, or a suggestion that the law needs to step in because of the moral dimension?

Hogan, it's sexual attraction, not attraction. To round out the definition a bit more, it's an adult who, throughout adulthood, has a sexual attraction to children 17 and under.

I understand the "sexual" part. What I'm getting at is the difference between an adult who has ever been sexually attracted to a 17 year old (e.g., me) and an adult who has seldom or never been sexually attracted to anyone other than a 17 year old (not me).

Child rape on a massive scale where millions of teachers have sex with tens of millions of students? That was your idea.

Do tell. Cite, please, and also the English to Klingon to Mandarin to English path that you took to derive that meaning from anything that I said. Plus added pharmaceuticals.

Slarti, you did write this:

Now, if you're proposing that the current sex ed classes are just not advanced enough, and that you'd really like to have labs that somehow involve legal minors AND teachers without criminal repercussions, then...you know what? You have to convince me.

Let me break it down for you. You suggested that I wanted to replace sex-ed classes in schools around the country with "labs that somehow involve legal minors AND teachers without criminal repercussions". Now, I can't imagine what sort of sex-ed replacement lab might involve criminal repercussions for "legal minors" and teachers...except for teachers having sex with children. Which would be child rape. And since we're talking about education policy, your idea boils down to child rape on a massive scale. Involving millions of people.

But perhaps I'm wrong. What exactly were you thinking of Slarti when you wrote about LEGAL MINORS and TEACHERS and CRIMINAL REPERCUSSIONS. I mean, did you think that putting a condom on a banana in front of children was illegal?

Now, if you're proposing that the current sex ed classes are just not advanced enough, and that you'd really like to have labs that somehow involve legal minors AND teachers without criminal repercussions, then...you know what? You have to convince me.

This is what you did write, Slart. What was it supposed to mean? Why would there be any mention of legal repercussions? I would't have suggested the specific meaning Turb did, mind you, but it's not an outrageous interpretation, given how vague this is. (My interpretation, as presented earlier, was far more open, but didn't necessarily rule out Turbs.)

Why not just clarify it and end the outrage duel you guys seem to be having? What did you mean?

What did you mean?

A: what I meant was that I couldn't unpack "sex ed lab" in any way that didn't involve possible legal problems. It's not up to me to assign any specific meaning to Turbulence's why-not response to that idea, so I didn't.

But thanks for asking! If only others could be as courteous, rather than casually manufacturing the absolute worst imaginable interpretation, and treating that interpretation as if it was words that came out of my mouth.

'GOB, are you advocating for something here? Is this just a general cautionary tale, or a suggestion that the law needs to step in because of the moral dimension?'

I'm generally OK with the law and I'm not advocating. What I'm suggesting that needs awareness and understanding is that young people (teenagers) make decisions across a large spectrum of issues without much knowledge and experience to help them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabeli_Fontana

In 1999, at the age of 16, she appeared in the Victoria's Secret lingerie catalogue. The shoot caused controversy, as Victoria's Secret stated that they would not use girls younger than 18.

I just googled "age of vic", which immediately autocompleted to "age of Victoria's Secret models," to find this. I can't say I didn't see the catalogue Fontana was in when I was about 30. I honestly don't know. And I can't say that, had I, I wouldn't have found her attractive, you know, sexually. I hadn't heard of her that I know of before finding her through google today. She does look familiar, though.

I would imagine that more than 6 in 100 adult men who did see her in that catalogue found her sexually attractive. I also doubt that this was a unique event in the world of magazine models. If I'm right about those things, what does that mean about the occurrence of pedophilia according to the definition McKTex provided? Does something like that "count"?

At the end of the day, I don't really care about Slarti's weird comments. I just want an answer to the question I've been asking, over and over: what specific problems come from having children take a sex-ed class before their parents think they're ready?

(Note: I'll happily stipulate that all parents have the legal authority to lock their kids in dungeons and isolate them like cult members. I'm not questioning any parent's right to act like a psychotic cult leader, so please, don't waste time explaining to me how I'm not the boss of you.)

I don't know why this question is so difficult to answer, but apparently it is incredibly difficult, like, beyond human comprehension. Is there anyone who can answer this question?

what specific problems come from having children take a sex-ed class before their parents think they're ready?

The application of that knowledge outside the classroom has more potential severe negative consequences for children than, say, subtraction (I'd say division but if they try to start to divide by zero it's all over)?

I never bought the idea that teaching kids about sex will result in them having it. That makes very little sense to me.

Even if true, they're gonna find out things about sex (probably half-truths) via the 'ole grapevine. If it's true that info will lead to behavior, then what is the result of leaving them with only the misinformation they pick up on the bus? Duh.

"But perhaps I'm wrong. What exactly were you thinking of Slarti when you wrote about LEGAL MINORS and TEACHERS and CRIMINAL REPERCUSSIONS. I mean, did you think that putting a condom on a banana in front of children was illegal?"

In front of children, in a bedroom, on film?

yep.

I'm not discussing anything other that abortion, if anything at all, on this thread after this, but, Marty, HUHHH???? WTF does that mean?

Maybe you were just making a joke about fruit.

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