Anna Marie Hoffman is one of the sharpest young social conservatives out there. She is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet and converse with. She wrote a recent blog about Federal funding for abstinence based sex education that was picked up by Lifenews.com
On July 6, 2012, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a pro-abstinence staff report called “A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance.” This report details how Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA), abstinence, truly lowers the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unintended teenage pregnancies as opposed to comprehensive sex education (CSE), which only focuses on reducing these risks.
Truthfully, SRA paves the way for healthy teen development, because it is based on adolescent behavioral theory, relies upon effectual techniques of public health prevention programs, emphasizes the importance of parental guidance and support, and teaches personal skills teens need to avoid dangerous sexual risks. In the end, the report successfully drives home a pro-abstinence message by concluding with 22 peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that teens have benefitted from SRA programs.
To advance these efforts, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act is seeking to promote abstinence by appropriating $15 million more for abstinence education programs and $80 million less for President Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.
I’m not going to get into a discussion over which approach is best because it is irrelevant to this post. Nor is this intended to be a discussion about the morality or immorality of premarital sex. The first and really the only question to ask about this is where in the Constitution is the Federal government allowed to fund any sex education programs? Education should be a state and local responsibility, not a Federal one.
This post is a symptom of one of the things the frustrate me the most about many social conservatives. Instead of realizing that the largest enabler of immorality is the Welfare State and working to eliminate it, they instead to use it to enact socially conservative policies. The problem with that approach to governing is that when progressives regain power (as they assuredly do in any democracy) is that you may create yet another means for them to weaken virtue and replace it with increased government control.
Thankfully, most social conservatives do realize the limits of government intervention as Anna Maria points out at the conclusion of her post.
Although both the report and the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act are a step in the right direction, we must always remember that more government appropriations cannot solve our societal problems. Instead, parents need to step up and educate their children about the risks of sexual promiscuity and the benefits of abstinence. A resurgence of stronger American families, rather than continuous government intervention, will truly counteract premarital sex as a societal norm.
Virtue will only prevail if it is freely chosen and not subsidized by the state. State subsidized virtue will only lead to a backlash that will only end in state subsidized sin. The best way to promote a more virtuous society is for families and the voluntary institutions of civil society such as the church to play an active role and for the government to get out of the way and that includes getting rid of the Welfare State which protects people from their bad decisions in life.