Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Even Educated Fleas Do It

In the controversy started by Bob Lonsberry's comments about school programs for unmarried students who have given birth, no one's talking about the most important issue:   where are the school programs to connect students with birth control?

The church groups and others criticizing Lonsberry would be doing a lot more good if they devoted the same time and energy to getting birth control to young women who need it, and young men who should use it, as they spend in complaining about a radio show.

Birth control programs should be promoted in middle schools and high schools everywhere - urban, suburban, rural.  (The human body works the same, no matter where you live.)   A good place to start would be in any school district where student pregnancy is significant enough to warrant special programs for unmarried mothers.

Planned Parenthood is an excellent organization and the right partner for school districts to work with in crafting programs to promote birth control.

Lonsberry is justified in his frustration over schools spending resources on programs for single-mother students, instead of devoting resources to preventing those pregnancies in the first place.  He's right in saying that it sends some very wrong signals.

However, in other ways Lonsberry is wrong.   First, for criticizing the existence of these programs.   Regardless of what should have or could have happened, the schools have students with babies and without husbands.   It does no one any good to let them slip further behind.   We're glad the City school district is offering programs to help them succeed.

Lonsberry is also wrong for focusing exclusively on behavior as the sole issue here.   We agree that one of the most important messages the schools can impart, in settings where there are no parents or community culture to impart it, is   "Don't have babies until you're married. Don't get married until you're at least 21."   (We'll take the complaining church people seriously when we see them advocating that message as vigorously as they denounce Lonsberry.)   Encouraging abstinence until marriage is part of getting that message across, but human nature is going to assert itself, especially where there's no reinforcement of the message whatsoever outside of school.

That's where programs to promote and provide access to birth control come in, and why they're needed.

Cole Porter would have understood.   See below.



Exile said...

An excellent post, my friend. The best I've read on this subject.

Exile said...

That's not to say I agree with everything you say here, but the fact is that if Lonbserry were seriously concerned about teen pregnancy, he would have spoke in favor of the sorts of programs you suggest, rather than taking pot shots at these girls. You make a very good point about that.