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Still Blue about Obama

I have not burned my “Mama Loves Obama” T-shirt. My “O” badge is still affixed to my messenger bag. Nevertheless, I keep discovering new levels of unhappiness with my candidate.

Yesterday, I posted a response to Barack Obama’s recent comments about women who seek late-term abortions. While reading the complete interview from which his initial remark was drawn, I discovered this exchange:

Strang: You’ve said you’re personally against abortion and would like to see a reduction in the number of abortions under your administration. So, as president, how would do you propose accomplishing that?

Obama: I think we know that abortions rise when unwanted pregnancies rise. So, if we are continuing what has been a promising trend in the reduction of teen pregnancies, through education and abstinence education giving good information to teenagers. That is important—emphasizing the sacredness of sexual behavior to our children. I think that’s something that we can encourage. I think encouraging adoptions in a significant way. I think the proper role of government. So there are ways that we can make a difference, and those are going to be things I focus on when I am president.

The first part of this answer is great. I’m all for reducing the need for abortions and for giving teenagers the facts they need to make smart, healthful decisions about sexual activity. But you will note that, right in between “education” and “good information”, Obama slips in a reference to “abstinence education”.

Obama has been accused of pandering to the right with some frequency of late. I don’t yet have a fully-formed opinion on FISA or government sponsorship of faith-based programs, but I can tell you for sure that I certainly hope that Obama was pandering when he mentioned “abstinence education”, because the thought that he would actually support any such program as President is alarming.

There are no reliable studies suggesting that abstinence-only education works, and there have been several indicating that they do not. Given the evidence we have, government-funded or government-mandated abstinence education programs are like government-funded or government-mandated programs based on phrenology or mesmerism or the healing power of magnets—except that those might be kind of funny, whereas there’s nothing funny about abstinence-only education.

Furthermore, while I’m in favor of teaching kids to respect themselves and their partners, I’m not sure public schools should be responsible for educating kids about “the sacredness of sexual behavior.” That seems like a job for parents and clergy, not public servants.

I loved Bill Clinton when I voted for him in 1992, and I was slightly heartbroken when he jeopardized the most important job in the world for a blow job. I guess I should be glad that I’m getting my disillusionment out of the way early with Obama. But I can tell you for sure that I’m going to be a whole lot more disappointed if the comment quoted above represents his real views on sex ed.

July 18, 2008 | Permalink

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