Contributing writer Roni Caryn Rabin made Tuesday's Science section with an update on what Obama-care might mean, which in this case was welcome news for the Times: Less abstinence education, more condom promotion.
The Times didn't put it quite that bluntly in "New Spending for a Wider Range of Sex Education," hardly mentioning the C-word.
In a sharp departure from the abstinence-only message of the Bush years, the new health law pours hundreds of millions of dollars into sex education programs that aim to provide teenagers with comprehensive information about protecting themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The programs, to be financed by $375 million in grants to the states over five years, are meant to encourage teenagers to delay sexual activity but to use protection if they are already active - as half of all high school students are....
Critics of that approach are delighted with the new law. "The fact that you have the federal government committed to this and putting some money behind it is really significant," said Laurie Rubiner, vice president for public policy and advocacy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "For years, the only thing offered by the federal government was money for programs that were proven to be unsuccessful in the area of sex education.
After emphasizing the apparent failures of abstinence programs based on a 2007 study (and ignoring a more recent study from the University of Pennsylvania suggesting abstinence education is effective), Rabin quoted two different staffers of Planned Parenthood, a pro-abortion conglomerate which operates abortion clinics, without providing readers with an ideological label. Yet Robert Rector was readily identified as a researcher at the "conservative" Heritage Foundation.
"Over 90 percent of parents want kids to be taught to abstain until they at least finish high school, and the comprehensive education curricula don't do that - they pretty much normalize teen sexual activity," said Robert Rector, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative research group. "They contain very explicit sexual material."
But Randa Dean, associate director of adult education at Planned Parenthood of New York City, said many of the parents she works with were disappointed at how little sex education their children were receiving through the school system.
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