Besides reducing services to children, Texas is doing as little as possible to help women — especially young women — avoid unwanted pregnancy.
For one thing, it’s extremely tough for teenagers to get contraceptives in Texas. “If you are a kid, even in college, if it’s state-funded you have to have parental consent,” said Susan Tortolero, director of the Prevention Research Center at the University of Texas in Houston.
Plus, the Perry government is a huge fan of the deeply ineffective abstinence-only sex education. Texas gobbles up more federal funds than any other state for the purpose of teaching kids that the only way to avoid unwanted pregnancies is to avoid sex entirely. (Who knew that the health care reform bill included $250 million for abstinence-only sex ed? Thank you, Senator Orrin Hatch!) But the state refused to accept federal money for more expansive, “evidence-based” programs.
“Abstinence works,” said Governor Perry during a televised interview with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune.
“But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country,” Smith responded.
“It works,” insisted Perry.
“Can you give me a statistic suggesting it works?” asked Smith.
“I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” said Perry, doggedly.
Tortolero, who lectures around the country on effective ways to prevent teenage pregnancy, once testified before a committee in the Texas House that was considering a bill to require that sex education classes only provide information that was medically accurate.
The bill was controversial. I’ll let you ponder that for a minute.
- Gail Collins, Mrs. Bush, Abstinence and Texas
This is the world of idiocy we live in.
You’d think that our level of scientific advancement would lead to a generalized adoption of a scientific outlook, but, as McLuhan presaged, the reaction to a post-industrial world — with scientific advance speeding up — is a return to tribal thinking and a rejection of science as arbiter of truth. Instead, proto-religious ideology and sectarian nationalism fill the void where secular liberalism once stood.
I despair. And it will only get worse. Our political system has reached a point of grave and purposeful ineffectiveness. The GOP argues for spending cuts but no new taxes, and have convinced a sizable number of Americans that this makes sense. The largest costs — Social Security, Medicare, the military — are untouched, while the poor are to be kicked into the gutter and social services will come to an end in many states.
All this so the oligarchs can avoid taxes. The right wing parades its illogic and magical thinking. They think that if they convince people of something then it is true, like little children crossing their fingers behind their backs when they tell a lie.