Friday, September 21, 2007


Yesterday the NYCLU released its report on abstinence-only funding, to which I contributed some small support and research. It's excellent, because the people writing it are extremely bright, capable and wonderful.

So many people have written so many things about abstinence-only, brilliantly (see Feministing's section, and RH's sexuality education section, and SIECUS, of course, which is a ROCKING organisation), that I really don't think I have too much to add. It was extremely interesting thinking about this in Malawi, where many many activists, those with HIV themselves, were advocating abstinence-only as the only way to cure the epidemic. I do not want to deny the authenticity or the challenges of those facing the problems on the ground there, but the reasoning disturbed me. Basically, the idea was that learning about condoms made children want to use them. Does anyone know a young person who really needed that excuse to try out their bodies? Really? And it's hard to know how activists would be talking if it weren't for President Bush's insistence on AB - abstinence, be faithful - and if all else fails, use a condom - just make sure that the condoms are twice as expensive as they need to be, if they get mentioned at all.

Bush - and his supporters, as we found out at a debate at school last semester - claim this came from African nations themselves; read this wonderful article by Helen Epstein* to realise that, as per usual, he's full of it. He just MAKES THIS UP as he goes along. In case you doubted it.

* Which reminds me, I need to buy her book. And you should read the article anyway. She's saying incredibly important things which, of course, health officials completely ignore because it doesn't suit them.

No comments: