Time: Perry Believing That Abstinence Works Is 'Weird Science'
By Ken Shepherd | August 31, 2011 | 11:04
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.