Don’t teach kids, because “they’re going to do it anyway”

There’s this meme developing among liberals that is so stupid it makes our head hurt, but they seem to think it makes sense. From Politico:

Sarah Palin’s personal story, and her views on personal morality, are at the core of her politics and of why she was nominated, and why she’d energized the conservative base.

Now, her daughter’s pregnancy has cast her views on teenagers and sex directly into the spotlight.

Democrats noted, before and after today’s announcement, that Palin took a hard line on a question in 2006 from the conservative Eagle Forum Alaska:

Q: Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

and from MSNBC:

By the way, as has been pointed out, Palin backed abstinence-only education during her 2006 gubernatorial race. In an Eagle Forum Alaska questionnaire, Palin gave this response to the following question:

Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

Palin: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

*** UPDATE *** NBC’s Abby Livingston adds that a McCain spokesperson in May 2007 said the Arizona Republican supported abstinence-only education, too. “Sen. McCain believes the correct policy for educating young children on this subject is to promote abstinence as the only safe and responsible alternative…

There’s been some of this kind of discussion on cable news as well. The implication seems to be that abstinence education for teens is wrong because some kids won’t take the advice. Do liberals oppose teaching kids to wear seatbelts because some won’t? Do they oppose teaching kids not to take drugs because some will anyway? Should we stop all anti-tobacco education, or pass out filtered low-tar cigarettes at school, because some kids will smoke anyway? If Sarah Palin had promoted anti-smoking education, and then one of her kids was caught smoking, would that anecdote be an argument against anti-smoking efforts? Of course not. There are reasonable arguments to be made as to the content of sex education programs. But Politico, MSNBC, and others sound as if there’s some sort of contradiction in the Palin story that is so obvious they don’t even need to explain it. The only thing it shows is that sometimes kids don’t listen to their parents.

The basic message essential for kids to learn is they need to act responsibly. Abstinence is the only safe and responsible alternative for teens. The fact some kids act irresponsibly doesn’t make that the wrong message.

Advocating abstinence does not, on the other hand, mean that various biological facts shouldn’t be presented to students. Knowing how their bodies work isn’t going to undermine the responsibility message. Handing out contraception at school and saying “they’re going to do it anyway” certainly does though.

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