Choose life—without abstinence

April 19, 2007

A Bush administration study released last week reminded us, once again, that science has proven that abstinence-only education policies don’t work. Catholic Georgetown, where abstinence is the official birth control policy and condoms aren’t sold, is also a research university, dedicated to discerning scientific truth. The current administration is dedicated to reducing abortions and preserving a culture of life. For both, ideology stands in the way of honest policies – a policy rooted in fact would end abstinence-only programs.

The administration released the congressionally mandated study without press releases or other heraldry, mainly because it contradicts the president’s dogmatic views. The study concludes that those subjected to abstinence-only education are just as likely to get down, but they won’t know the facts about sex, and more importantly, safe sex.

Defenders claim that the failure of the president’s policy simply means it needs to be further implemented by giving students more classes. This keep-digging strategy is the same one succeeding so well in Iraq right now. These programs, incidentally, cost $87.5 million a year.

Here at Georgetown, it’s only a coincidence that we are smack in the middle of both Choice and Jesus week, but it’s an illuminating one. The University’s policy reflects a betrayal of the Jesuit search for the truth, since it purports a lie: that abstinence education changes people’s behavior. An institution that is pro-life both before and after birth should care about health and preventing unintentional pregnancies. While it’s an oft-sung song on campus, the fact is Georgetown should be encouraging safe sex, not no sex.

This news is put into broader context with yesterday’s Supreme Court decision upholding partial birth abortion without any exceptions for the health of the mother. While abortion should not be celebrated, riding the slippery slope to illegalize it robs women of the freedom to make choices about their own bodies. A real anti-abortion policy would eliminate the need for them in the first place, with real sex education and contraception.

Georgetown is a Jesuit University; it should seek truth. The White House should have learned by now not to blind itself with ideology. Both should make a truly pro-life decision by ending abstinence-only policies.

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The Editorial Board is the official opinion of the Georgetown Voice. Its current composition can be found on the masthead. The Board strives to publish critical analyses of events at both Georgetown and in the wider D.C. community. We welcome everyone from all backgrounds and experience levels to join us!

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