Skip to main content

Time: Perry Believing That Abstinence Works Is 'Weird Science'

Ken Shepherd's picture

To Time magazine, apparently, it's "weird science" to believe that abstinence is a sure-fire way to avoid pregnancy.

Writing about "Gov. Rick Perry's Weird Science," reporter Meredith Melnick promised readers a look at the Texas governor's penchant for "weird science" including his enthusiasm for experimental adult stem cell treatments -- never mind the mainstream media have for about a decade hyped the similarly uncertain promise of embryonic stem cell therapies.

Under the heading, "Teen Pregnancy Aside, 'Abstinence Works,'" Melnick groused how "Texas has the highest teen birth rate and the fourth highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute," going on to note that:

[W]hen Gov. Perry turned down $4.4 million in federal funding for pregnancy prevention programs and decided to continue with state-funded abstinence-only education in October 2010, a reporter from the Texas Tribune asked him why. Specifically, why, in the face of rising teen pregnancy rates, would the governor stick with a method that didn't seem to be working?

"Abstinence works," Perry replied to a roomful of laughter. The reporter pressed on, asking for data to back up the assertion that abstinence education leads to lower teen pregnancy rates. Flustered, Perry said that he knew abstinence worked from his "own personal life."

While the efficacy of abstinence-only education versus safe-sex sex education is debatable, it's not debatable that "abstinence works, every time it's tried," as Rush Limbaugh is wont to quip. It's hardly "weird science" to note that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy.

Melnick also tackled Perry's push for a mandatory HPV vaccine, a legitimate issue of concern, as well as Perry's beliefs on homosexuality.

While Melnick notes that Perry has not come down definitively on the debate over whether homosexuality is inborn or a choice, she notes that he's written that:

Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.

Perry "went on to suggest that rather than act out their same-sex attraction, homosexuals should simply choose abstinence," Melnick noted.

Apparently to Melnick, the notion of pre-martial abstinence or the willful abstinence from homosexual sexual acts due to religious or moral conviction is "weird science," although they have little if anything to do with science per se and everything to do with morally responsible behavior.

Melnick apparently has a problem with Perry's social conservatism, but she's cloaking her contempt by dressing it up in the guise of painting Perry as anti-science.


#1 Yes it works 100 percent of the time Ken

However nothing wrong with teaching about alternatives if teen hormones get the best of you.

#2 How about teaching teenagers

How about teaching teenagers about self-control, self-denial, to not give in to every single human impulse and want that comes their way.

Furthermore, have you thought about how many of these teenagers who hadn't thought about a sexual relation are now thinking about it thanks to the ridiculous sex education classes?

It is about time that our nation went back to teaching the facts, sex before marriage is wrong.

and of course, while someone at the bottom said not talk about it, it must be talked about it. How many of these teenagers, who are incapable of listening to simple instructions, will use contraceptives wrong, end up pregnant and then...put in a situation where they want or are pushed to comit murder, an abortion.

#3 Yeah, that was me.

The only reason I didn't want to bring up abortion was because I didn't think we needed to continue flogging a dead horse. It's all been said before, but come to think of it now, it's good that we constantly remind people the consequences of engaging in an unhealthy lifestyle.

#4 DumbCanuck, Exactly, the


Exactly, the consequences of engaging in an unhealthy lifestyle must be taught.

And the fact is that the only "contraceptive" that works 100% of the time is...abstinence!

Let's start teaching our kids self-control, self-denial and that gratification of the body is not necessary or needed.

Sex is for procreation and showing your spouse, of the opposite sex, how much you love him/her and adore him/her. And the result of this immense love for each other may result in a child.

The misuse of sex has led to countless STDs, countless abortions, countless broken families, countless screwed up kids, but heck, let us keep on teaching ways on how to keep on destroying Western society.

#5 Liberallies, I

'like' you.

nana b

#6 A perfectly rational opinion.

But I think a parent should teach them about the alternatives BEFORE teen hormones get the best of them. LoL. I am a very conservative guy, but I am not stupid enough to believe that anything more than a small percentage of young people will be successful practicing abstinance until they marry. Example, I have two sons who are near 30 years old. Neither is married, neither have gotten a woman pregnant, both are well employed. And yes, both of them are straight.....LoL. They were not raised with religion, neither their mother or I were ever much into that. Teach them right from wrong, hammer home the consequences for the rest of their lives of screwing up, and hopefully they will do fine. Mine did. If parents want their kids to have access to birth control beginning at puberty, fine by me if that is what they choose. I will always have a problem with people who advocate for smaller govt. that stays out of peoples lives......except when it comes to trying to regulate morality as they see it. And anytime their arguments include quoting scripture....I have a REAL problem with it.

Bob K

#7 I am not advocating the

I am not advocating the government getting involved in teaching abstinence. I am advocating that the parents be parents for once and stop pushing to the government what should be taught at home. Sexual relations before marriage are wrong, period end of story.

Think about it, I have a brother-in-law who is 23 years old. he works, he has a girlfriend, but he neither has the maturity nor the money to support a family. So, shoot, they us contraceptives and all of a sudden, which happens much more often than the pro-contraceptive people like to admit, they still get pregnant. NOT to mention human nature, which the pro-contraceptive people love to deny, they are in their romantic moment, no contraceptives...oh what the heck one time it won't matter.

Now, my brother-in-law has to support a child, which he has no money for it, he also has to pay for medical bills, he also has to support the girlfriend. Now they have to live off the tit of government. That is if they choose not to commit murder in order to save money. But who is to say that him and his girlfriend will stay together, no one knows. So, 5 years down the line they are no longer together. Now the kid is moving back and forth between parents, etc. Terrible situation for the kid because mom and dad could not control themselves and they thought contraceptives would protect them!

and you can have a real problem with people quoting scripture, but as more and more people move away from the Christian Faith, this nation, the Western World moves deeper and deeper into complete and utter economic and cultural decline!

#8 Liberallies...

More 'like'. Oh, and AMEN!

nana b

#9 Good story to think about

LA, this is a good story that should be told repeatedly times 10 and then start over again.

Especially to the younger generation.


#10 A good reason to teach old

A good reason to teach old fashioned values and pound the consequences into their haids.

Nuke em til they glow; then shoot em in the dark

#11 Firsts

Put a condom in a kid's hand and he's going to want to put it elsewhere.

There are certain "firsts" in life that are barriers protecting us from harm:

Like getting that first speeding ticket
Going to jail that first time
Sleeping with that first hooker
Cheating on the wife that first time
Getting that first STD
Getting drunk your first time
Doing your first illicit drugs

Once you cross those lines, you don't mind doing it so much the second time. "Ah that wasn't so bad. I can handle it again." But that second drug buy might be the one that turns you into a crack head. That second hooker might be the one with AIDS. That second affair might be the one that breaks up an otherwise happy family. That second time getting wild with Betty in the back seat might be the one that makes Junior.

#12 A-HA!

Abstinence is "a method that didn't seem to be working". Have I got that right? Teen aged girls will get pregnant even when no physical contact is made? Uhhh, toilet seat?

#13 I have billions of cases proving abstinance.

Visit any of the billions of women I have not slept with. Count how many of them have my babies.

#14 fund neither program

steer people to local foundations that are in line with their own personal belief system. Problem solved.

Give Peas a Chance. ☑ ABØ in 2012

#15 Like Churches.


#16 Abstinence works every time

Abstinence works every time its tried. Time just wants to push the lib agenda of free sex, pregnancies that end in abortion and appearently VDs.

"It may be true that you can't fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country"......Will Durant

#17 meme

The "science" thing seems to be consistently coming up, raised mostly by the lefty side. Perhaps this is one of those thoroughly tested, focus-grouped memes that scores well with independents. Frank Luntz would know...but the 'pubs should practice and practice their comeback for this type of question...on abstinence simply say that it's been shown to be an effective program, and cite sources...on climate change it's also useful to have 1 or 2 studies and authors to be ready with. The left actually abandons science often for the most part when advancing their views. It's basis is most notable in discussions about evolution vs intelligent design or creationism. These chats need to be carefully planned, and always supportable with facts.

#18 Yup.

The Left may want to re-think the title of "science party" in light of this gem.

#19 This has got to be a perfect example of liberal spin.

Something that is so obvious, and so easily provable, is considered "weird science"

Shawn: What alternatives would that be? Condoms? Fails about 15% of the time, even if properly applied. No doubt among teens, that percentage will go up.

To be fair, though, I think the reporter was referring to the method of teaching abstinence that "didn't seem to be working". That we can debate.

And for the sake of brevity, let's stay away from abortion, shall we?

#20 Actually the "perfect use"

Actually the "perfect use" effectiveness of condoms is more in 95%+ range and its "typical use" that is ~15-20% failure rate and there are many other forms of birth control that are more effective

#21 Abstinence IS a sure-fire way to avoid pregnancy!

Except for one time that is pretty well known by most of the world, it do work pretty good.

If the libs keep talking like this, it will totally blow John Edwards defense in the upcoming trial about how his little bastard was conceived by his ho and he had nothing to do with it!

The liberal definition of good parents are those that do not allow their 14 year old daughter to drink beer in front of her two year old child.

Comrade Bubba

#22 Any of these imbeciles ever

Any of these imbeciles ever stop to consider that illegal immigrant teens are a huge factor in teen pregnancy rates in our state? They come here and get knocked up for a reason, you know.

#23 Yep.

It's not an accident; it's a strategy.

"Beauty is only skin deep, but liberal's to the bone." - me

#24 Abstinence has been working

Abstinence has been working for centuries and suddenly it has stopped working? I don't think so. I think it is weird science to think it has stopped working. What has broken down is the morality in the liberal media. In just about every area sex is taught as a normal part of a dating relationship and their is something wrong if a couple doesn't jump into bed. Teenagers see sitcom and movie characters jumping into bed and do they come to believe their is nothing wrong with having sex themselves, I think they do. Then the liberals fight those who have the solution to the problem that has worked for centuries.

Right is never wrong, Left is never right.

#25 Sex is like a goodnight kiss or a handshake, right?

I mean everybody's doin' it. Just watch the TV shows.

#26 Your tv

has a on and off switch. And get back to me when having cable access is mandated by law.

Bob K

#27 Well, it is a "right", you know.

Like cell phones......and health care............and housing.............and food........and a Chevy Volt...............

#28 Yeah, television has an off

Yeah, television has an off and on button, that I can control in my house, but not in my kids friends' house, right?

and what happens when my child decides to wake up and turns on the television and there is countless of filth around?

and let us once again, not deny human nature, curiosity about things that are said not to be done and watch.

This is the reason why my wife and I only have Netflix, no regular television or cable, and we can block all rated "R" and "NR" movies and shows on Netflix.

Giving parents control works, but the question is, what do you when you child comes back from school and starts talking about sex because the teacher gave them a condom or a brochure about sex and about homosexuality?

#29 well

I myself call these teaching moments. Same as with my child coming home in tears telling me we're destroying the planet, hate minorites and want to push gramma off a cliff.

Give Peas a Chance. ☑ ABØ in 2012

#30 Katainkent, While I agree


While I agree with you, that some instances can be turned into excellent teaching moments. I also believe that there are things that children, no matter the age, are not mature enough to handle, understand or put into practice. Sex is one of them.

There is a time, place and age to teach our sons and daughters about sex, but the public school is not one of them. 8th grade and below is not the appropriate age either. Western kids need to regain their innocence, their purity. And it is possible.

This is the reason why I will do everything within my power never to send my children to a public school.

I always hear people say, "Well, kids will be kids..." as a reasoning to excuse all type of bad behavior from our children and teenagers.

As I have found out through my kids and as it was taught to me a long time ago, we the parents MUST set the boundaries and moral standards very high. Kids will meet the standards that we set up at home. If we set up low expectations, low moral standards, our kids will meet these. If we set up high expectations, high moral standards for ou children, they will meet these.

I expect a lot from my children and I have set up very high moral standards for them. AND of course, we must lead by example. I as a parent can't be looking at porno, watching evening shows full of sexual material, yes even the ones on regular television and then turn to my son and say, you must respect woman. If I do not respect women, if I do not respect sex, my child will never do so.

Let's start teaching boys to act like gentlemen and respect women. And let us start teaching girls to be ladies and respect themselves and boys.

Let us stop with the..."go for it...if it gratifies you and if you feel good and like you did nothing wrong, why feel guilty!"  This way of thinking about our actions is destroying Western culture.

#31 hiya

I think we agree on every point. Standards, expectations, etc. Except possibly one - I will do all I can to protect my children from harm (such as outright cancelling cable, installing parental controls on the internet, consistent monitoring of online time/use, friends they hang out with etc, etc) but I can't protect them from ideas.

In the end all I can do is arm them with the best defense I can - the power to reason, understanding real life consequences to actions and the ability to utilize critical thinking so that when faced with a "why not?" from a friend they can confidently answer with something besides "because my parent's said so". I think that's the only way we can affect change.   Real change.  Not this hopeychange crap.

Give Peas a Chance. ☑ ABØ in 2012

#32 Get back to me

when TV ads conform to the rating of the show they support. Nothing like an 8:00 sitcom with "KY Intense", "Zoosk hookup" and "Cialis" ads popping up every ad break.

"Beauty is only skin deep, but liberal's to the bone." - me

#33 You think you have it tough, Kid?

Check out the sort of ads that hit the tube in France!

Coming to a grammar school sex ed class near you soon.

Comrade Bubba

#34 Geez

I have to go wash my eyeballs now.

#35 So this is French "high art"?

For a country that continually bleats about being the most artistic nation, ads like that certainly prove otherwise.

#36 A lot of men only wish they

A lot of men only wish they had a 4 hour problem.

Nuke em til they glow; then shoot em in the dark

#37 I see your point, but

It's a bit narrow-minded to think the kids are safe if the TV is turned off. Unless you keep your kids locked in a closet, they're going to see this trash on billboards, hear it on the radio, be taught it in school, hear about it from kids at school. No TVs needed.

Good, strong parenting is needed. But it would be really nice if we weren't fighting this trash from all angles -- especially from the schools.

#38 Morality and the liberal media

Morality has not become broken in liberal media. They never had it in the first place.

#39 Seems Melnick is

either ignorant or lying...

"Still, suspicious and judgmental reporting regarding Gov. Perry’s treatment—and adult stem cell treatments in general—is typical of the mainstream media, seemingly bent upon advancing embryo-destructive stem cell research while downplaying the dramatic successes achieved through adult stem cell research. The media often seem blind to the simple (but clear) ethical differences."

There are lots of articles on SUCCESSFUL ADULT STEM CELL TREATMENTS, if they only cared to look.

Melnick, like the rest of the MSM, can't even be bothered by doing a simple BING search on say...'adult stem cell success'.

#40 Successful stem cell treatments

I thought that adult stem cell treatments were the only ones that have been showing any promise. The embryonic treatments caused wild cancers (or have the fixed that one yet??) I'm pretty sure the stats from adult stem cell studies were used by the lefties to justify the embryonic efforts when they were bashing Bush.

But anyway, this goes to show the real point: Lefty concepts = solid science. Righty concepts = witch craft and voodoo.

#41 Unless human females suddenly became parthenogenic...

...(self-fertilizing), abstinence indeed will prevent pregnancy. Parthenogenesis has been seen in some organisms, but not in any mammal species to the best of my knowledge.

Meredith Melnick must have an interesting mental illness to believe that abstinence is "weird science". It is the most basic science of biology. Humans are not bacteria and do no reproduce by simple binary fission.

#42 Right you are, Doc

That mental illness is called "liberalism".

"Beauty is only skin deep, but liberal's to the bone." - me

#43 Abstinence is the only 100%

Abstinence is the only 100% effective birth control there is.

#44 Well you have to take into account

all the pregnancies which resulted from sitting on a dirty toilet seat.


#45 I know I am late to the party, but here are a few

thoughts. The left has been successful in painting human beings as a, "higher form" of animals. Because of this one can't control themselves. It's all part of biology. You couldn't tell a male dog to stay away from a female dog who is heat. His nature takes over. This is the thinking of the evolutionist crowd. But we are NOT animals. We were created in the image of God and can choose to do right and wrong. Sex before marriage is wrong. Extra marital sex is wrong. We know this because in divorce papers there is a box for adultery being the cause of the divorce.
After saying all this we must remember that a young man comes to sexual maturity at the age of 18. What is a guy to do if he waits till he is 30 to get married? 12 years is a long time isn't it? I propose that in our society we teach our young people to court like they did in older days. Instead of dating lots of people in high school, how about we start to teach courting? By the time young people turn 18 they will be ready to marry. Then they can grow together and become one flesh like the Lord wanted. I have a real problem with the idea that you start dating when you are 16,marry at 30, and things will be ok. By the time you are 30, you've had so many bad relationships, and are bruised and bleeding, you are good to nobody. The cure is to find someone to commit to in the early years, give your hearts to them, and live long lives together.

Liberals are funny when they aren't in power.  But when they have power they become dangerous. Rush Limbaugh

#46 I love my wife

Been married for many years and did not get married till I was 27. I also know of others that have had prior relationships and are now happily married. To each their own. Not every relationship is the same.

#47 Lottery Abstinence -- Winnings Due Any Day Now

Gee, I've abstained from buying any lottery tickets for all of my 62 years so far, but any day now -- I'm just SURE of it!!! -- I just might be getting a bazillion-gazillion-dollar, tax-free check in the mail and I'll finally be able to retire in comfort. It could randomly happen, it just might.

Because....everyone knows that abstinence isn't reeeeeeally foolproof.



"Ye canne change the laws of physics....." but some politicians believe that with the right legislation you can pretend they don't really apply to your own pet projects... 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.