Judge Smacks Down Abstinence-Only Education: No, You Can’t Call That ‘Sex Ed’

What’s the fastest way to cause a sexually transmitted disease outbreak in a school? Teach abstinence-only sex ed.

A California judge recently brought some much needed common sense to the “debate” over whether schools should be allowed to stick with abstinence-only classes or be forced to provide students with a comprehensive sexual education program, including lessons on contraception. His conclusion was that deliberately withholding vital information from kids is a major violation of the rights of children.

“Access to medically and socially appropriate sexual education is an important public right,” Judge Donald Black wrote in his decision.

The ruling gets to the very heart of what is so sickening about pushing “no sex before marriage” lessons on children: It doesn’t work. It never has. What remains are school districts pushing a pipe dream on children and leaving them vulnerable to STDs and pregnancy. The results are glaringly obvious. In states that don’t require comprehensive sexual education, teen pregnancy far outpaces the national average. In schools that promote abstinence over safe sex, STD rates are much higher.

It’s no wonder then that Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black’s decision is being hailed by advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union as an “historic” ruling that may spell the beginning of the end of the boneheaded push to sell only abstinence.

The decision only affects a particular California school district, although with 40,000 students, that is nothing to sneeze at. The district, Clovis Unified, had been foregoing lessons on sexual health, and instead teaching children that abstinence is the only way to avoid STDs or pregnancy. It certainly isn’t the only school district to do so, but it may be one of the most egregious.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

A group of parents in Clovis filed suit in November 2012, saying the school district was using texts and videos that focused on abstinence and made little or no mention of contraceptives or claimed they were ineffective. One video, described in Black’s ruling, compared a woman who was not a virgin to a dirty shoe. Other videos “perpetuated sexual orientation bias,” the judge said, including one that encouraged students to adopt the mantra, “One man, one woman, one life.”

Aside from 40,000 students now being saved from their school’s twisted interpretation of sexual education, the broader excitement is that the ruling sets a clear precedent for other judges to follow. Unless abstinence-only crusaders can find scientific data to back up their claims (they can’t), then students are being lied to for no medically-backed reason. Using that logic, it’s not hard to conclude, as Judge Black has, that abstinence-only education is a fairly obvious violation of a child’s rights.

This ruling couldn’t come at a more important time. Despite the overwhelming evidence that abstinence-only lessons harm children, conservative lawmakers across the United States continue to try to elbow out sex ed from school curricula. The results would be laughable if they weren’t so harmful. Recently, a scientist who studies sexual education strategies, sat in on her son’s abstinence-only sex ed class. Her reactions were tweeted in real time and are terrifying:

Judge Black deserves all the credit in the world for taking one look at these kinds of lesson plans and correctly dismissing them as nonsense bordering on propaganda.

Feature image via MadMikesAmerica.com