California's War on Abstinence
California Political Review March/April 1998
How Public Support for Teaching Sexual Abstinence Became
a Mandate for Indoctrinating Kids in Value-Free Sex
By Steve Baldwin
The word “abstinence” has been heavily used recently, with many child development experts, education bureaucrats, and Wilson Administration officials often using the term whenever the subject of teenage pregnancies becomes hot. However, while the public front is one of alleged support for the abstinence approach to sex education, in reality all the aforementioned parties have declared war on abstinence. Even worse, public support for abstinence has been exploited by those hostile to it in such a way that non-abstinence sex education is being funded under the banner of abstinence.
How did this happen? It is a long, sordid story of Machiavellian maneuvering and shady motives by both bureaucrats and the sex education industry. Add to that an effort by Wilson appointees to deceive the governor and members of the Legislature, and you have quite a story.
First, some background. Sometime in the late 1980s, a nationwide abstinence movement began which produced several abstinence-based programs that showed startling success. Three such programs are Sex Respect, Teen Aid, and Best Friends. In five years of using Best Friends, a Washington, D.C., inner city school had zero pregnancies! A five-year study evaluating 26 schools using Sex Respect found a pregnancy rate of 5 percent, compared to 49 percent for girls not in the program.
In a San Marcos school district, Teen Aid cut the number of pregnancies from 150 a year to 20. And a massive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found abstinence-based programs to be the only programs that reduce teen-age pregnancies. One would think schools would - rush to adopt them, but in fact, war has been declared on schools using such programs, scaring away many districts.
To understand the massive resistance confronting abstinence, a little history is needed.
The roots of what today cannot be fairly described as anything less than a sex education industry lie in a “movement” launched by the fraudulent work of Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey’s 1948 book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male revolutionized how people viewed sex, especially as performed by children. Kinsey argued that children were — and wanted to be — far more sexually active than most people previously had thought, a notion that became gospel to radical humanists eager to initiate sex education at the earliest age possible.
As we now know, Kinsey’s work involved coerced experimentation on young boys by child molesters. Dr. Paul Gebhard, former director of the Kinsey Institute, admitted the research included the “manual and oral” molestation of young boys. Pedophiles — Gebhard’s word for them — were used to record the number and frequency of the children’s “orgasms” using a stopwatch. According to Kinsey’s own description of his methodology, signs of orgasm included,
fighting away from the partner, sometimes with an abundance of tears.
Kinsey justified this molestation of 317 children in the interest of science. He argued from this “research” that sex is good for children and that all sex, including child-adult sex, even incest, is healthy.
Now what most people don’t know is how thoroughly Kinsey’s “findings” dictate what our children are taught in sex education classes in public schools. In California, the three major sex education groups — Planned Parenthood; Education, Training, and Research Associates (ETR); and the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)-- which produced nearly all of California's public school sex ed curricula, are all either Kinsey Institute spin-offs or deeply influenced by Kinsey.
For instance, even though ETR literature openly promotes value-free sex, since 1993 this group has received millions of dollars in grants from two California state agencies, the Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Office of Family Planning. In addition, up and down the state, public school sex-ed classes employ Kinsey-based curricula developed by these three organizations.
The former director of Planned Parenthood, Allan Guttmacher, a colleague and close friend of Kinsey, was instrumental in developing Planned Parenthood’s Kinsey-esque sex education curricula. For example, a 1974 Planned Parenthood sex education booklet, You’ve Changed the Combination, endorses prostitution:
Do you want a warm body? Buy one. That’s right. There are women who have freely chosen that business, buy one…Do you want a virgin to marry? Buy one. There are girls in that business too. Marriage is the price you’ll pay, and you’ll get the virgin. Very temporarily.
Planned Parenthood bowed out of producing sex education curricula in the early 1980s, but a group of employees from the Santa Cruz Planned Parenthood office formed ETR, now led by Pamela Wilson. In 1989 Wilson stated that,
In elementary schools we should start talking about different adult households; same sex roommates, same sex loving.
Is this just some unimportant fringe group? Hardly: ETR coordinates the “Family Life Education Network,” a sex education trade association with a membership of 6,000 teachers and counselors.
In 1964, the Kinsey Institute launched the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) for the specific purpose of creating sex education curricula and programs based on Kinsey’s theories. Like Planned Parenthood, SIECUS received early money from the Playboy Foundation, which knows a wise investment when it sees one. Indeed, SIECUS, in a position paper titled Sexually Explicit Material, recommended that children use pornography and promoted this perversion in its curriculum guidelines. Many sex education movement leaders, for that matter, including those at SIECUS, worked at Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler or some other part of the porn industry. From the beginning, the porn and the sex education industries have had interlocking interests and personnel, and our culture is now reaping the results of this unholy alliance.
SIECUS’s first leader was Dr. Mary Calderon, the past medical director of Planned Parenthood, who, in 1985, said that children,
feel sensation from touching and from genital stimulation from infancy on.
SIECUS material condones incest in a pamphlet called Dealing with the Last Taboo. There is also a professional association for sex education leaders, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (SSSS), founded by Kinsey associates. It is dominated by sexologists who believe that sexual relations between adults and children is normal. Alarmingly, SSSS controls the content of nearly all sex education curricula through its accreditation guidelines.
Indeed, a study of the sex education movement by the Institute for Media Education, co-authored by Dr. Judith Reisman, found that a large number of the sex education leadership, including SSSS leaders, are either admitted pedophiles, have published in pedophile publications, have publicly advocated sex between children and adults, or are actively involved in the porn industry. For example, Dr. John Money of John Hopkins University, a past SSSS president, told an interviewer he supports sexual sadism in relations between boys and adults if “consent” is obtained first:
A childhood sexual experience…such as being the partner of a relative or
of an older person, need nor necessarily affect the child adversely.
Some will say all this is history, that today’s sex education curriculum is a model of responsibility. Wrong. The following quotes are from among the most popular of today’s sex education textbooks, teacher manuals, or recent sex education conferences:
For you, exploring sex might mean kissing and hugging someone you’re
attracted to ... Later, it might mean giving each other orgasms, or even
making 1ove ... Often this kind of sexual exploring is with a friend of your
own sex. [Changing Bodies, Changing Lives, distributed by Planned
I have known cases of farm boys who have had a loving sexual relationship
with an animal and who felt good about their behavior until they got to
college ... where they were made to feel guilty. [Boys and Sex by Ward
Pomeroy, Kinsey Report co-author, distributed by Planned Parenthood]
There are many girls who regret after marriage that they didn’t have pre-
marital intercourse, because they’ve come to realize what a long, slow learning
process it is after marriage. [Girls and Sex, also by Ward Pomeroy and
distributed by Planned Parenthood]
Masturbation is a topic that is viewed negatively in many families ....
Assure parents that your approach will be low-keyed and will stress privacy,
but make it clear that you will not perpetuate myths that can mar children’s
healthy sexual development.” [Learning About Family Life, a teacher’s manual;
And from SIECUS’s Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (ages 5-8):
Some men and women are homosexual, which means they will be attracted to
and fall in love with some of the same gender.
From the same book but for ages 9-12:
Homosexual love relationships can be is fulfilling as heterosexual relationships.
For ages 15-1 8:
The telephone number of the gay and lesbian switchboard is 1--……….
Finally, from Carol Cassell, ETR Family Life Education Institute Conference, August 9, 1989:
The big lie is that it’s easy to be monogamous, and chat everybody is. If you believe that, you’d better choose well. We can’t go back to the values we had because they don’t exist anymore. For the most part, women are not virgins anymore, so to teach virginity doesn’t work.
Certainly other sex education programs are less explicit, but nearly all adhere to the Kinsey philosophy: all sex is healthy, regardless of age, religious beliefs, social mores, or parental wishes. The message is usually subtle, couched in terms such as “safe sex,” but the result is the same: unwanted pregnancies, more disease, more social problems. And most parents have no idea this approach is the status quo. Indeed, the sex education industry assured Americans in the 1960's that “comprehensive” sex education would do away with unwanted pregnancies. Right.
But statistics from the Health and Human Services Department, from the Centers
Disease Control, and from the Statistical Abstracts of the United States, tell us Kinseyian sex education has created a major teen pregnancy crisis. Birth rates per 1,000 unwed teenage girls went from 13.5 in 1951 to 45 per 1,000 girls in 1993. According to Planned Parenthood, the percent of 17-year-old girls having pre-marital sex went from 15 percent in l955 to 52 percent in 1987; for 16-year-old girls, the percent went from 8 percent
1955 to 34 percent in 1987; and for 15-year-olds, it went from 3 percent in 1955 to 28 percent in 1987. Overall, teen pregnancies have increased 90 percent, teen abortions 230 percent, and reported cases of venereal disease 140 percent.
Even sex education industry journals have published research showing the failure of Kinsey’s “comprehensive” approach to sex education. In 1986, researchers Stan Weed and Dr. Joseph Olson wrote in Family Perspective Journal that,
Instead of the expected reductions in overall teenage pregnancy rates, greater teenage involvement in family planning (contraceptive-based) programs appear to be associated with higher, rather than lower, teenage pregnancy rates.
Moreover, research shows that states spending the most on “family planning,” such as California, have the largest increase in abortions and out-of-wedlock births. States that do not mandate sex education, such as Wyoming, have far lower teenage pregnancy rates than those that do. No reliable studies show any correlation between sex education and reduced pregnancy rates. On the contrary, studies show more explicit sex ed increases pregnancy rates.
The response to this escalating crisis is, as always, to spend more money on “family planning,” which the Wilson Administration has done over the last few years, statistics be damned. In 1995, the Legislature passed the “Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Grant Program,” distributing $10 million to schools for sex education programs. The legislation prohibited distribution of condoms, but the Department of Education’s own grant
application documents list a variety of sex education programs that feature “contraceptive services.” Moreover, none of the programs suggested by the department are effective abstinence-based programs and the grant application makes clear that condoms can indeed be distributed as part of the program as long as “funds from the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Grant Program” are not “used to distribute condoms.”
In other words, all a school has to do is kick in a few bucks to pay for the condoms, and they have a program Kinsey would be proud of. This violates existing sex education codes, but who cares when nobody enforces the law? California does have some decent sex education codes, thanks to Senator Newt Russell who authored a successful 1988 bill, SB 2394, amending California’s sex education codes to require that all sex education curriculum material and instruction shall:
• Stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse
until they are ready for marriage.
• Teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual
• Stress that abstinence is the only contraceptive method which is 100 percent effective and that all other methods of contraception carry a risk of failure in preventing unwanted teenage pregnancy.
• Include a discussion of the possible emotional and psychological consequences of pre-adolescent and adolescent sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
• Be age-appropriate.
The trouble is, most sex education programs currently used in California schools do not comply with the guidelines, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin has made no effort to enforce the law (though she complains regularly that more needs to be done about the teenage pregnancy epidemic).
On the legal front, the ACLU has threatened lawsuits against numerous schools in California, including Vista and Hemet school districts, over their use of abstinence-based programs. The ACLU actually claims
that teaching that monogamous, heterosexual intercourse within marriage is a
traditional American value is an unconstitutional establishment of a religious
doctrine in public schools.
That is, schools must teach nothing that happens also to be in the Bible! The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled abstinence programs legal, but the ACLU still intimidates ignorant school boards. When the Conejo Valley school district chose an abstinence program, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) led the charge, claiming abstinence-based programs are “not representative of all populations.”‘ What?
Apparently advocating abstinence discriminates against the pervert section of the population. Modesto schools dropped Sex Respect after Planned Parenthood launched a campaign calling the program “a fear and shame-based curriculum.”
Eastin has jumped into the fray, calling Sex Respect “fear-based” at a homosexual educators conference. When Orange County gave a $606,000 grant to an abstinence-based group, Planned Parenthood persuaded the Department of Health Services to review the grant’s legality. People for the American Way, NOW, the League of Women Voters, and other members of the liberal cabal have coordinated attacks on any school district that even thinks about abstinence. Moreover, condom maker Durex Consumer Products launched a “Truth for Youth” campaign complete with Jane Fonda as spokes-thing, attacking abstinence and urging “balance.” Even the Legislature’s Legislative Counsel opined that Sex Respect is illegal because the “student workbook in effect and considered alone does not provide the information regarding the role of condoms in reducing the risk of infection from the human immunodeficiency virus…”
The war on abstinence escalated when the federal government — responding to overwhelming evidence that abstinence programs work — appropriated $50 million in 1996 for abstinence programs nationwide. In California, which is slated to receive $5,764,199 per year for five years, liberals urged Wilson not to accept the funds. SIECUS sent a directive to all its members urging them to persuade state officials,
that abstinence-only programs are ineffective and that you want effective
comprehensive sexuality education programs for young people in your state.
Under such pressure, the Wilson administration hesitated, but in the end accepted the funds. Pro-family groups are not, however, holding their breath. The same DHS officials doling millions to “have sex with anyone, anytime” groups will distribute the federal abstinence funds. So far, it doesn’t look good. At a January 15-16 health educators’ conference co-sponsored by the health services and education departments, speakers repeatedly bashed abstinence-based programs, with Wilson’s DHS appointees cheering on. Keynoter Judith Billings set the tone:
Study after study shows that abstinence does not reduce the onset of teen sexuality .... and therefore does not work….This is what happens when we limit programs to a method that didn’t work since the time of Adam and Eve when they were told, “Don’t do it” by a higher authority. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work today ... .more damage done by abstinence-only is the complete refusal to recognize the needs of gay and lesbian youth ... We need to absolutely reject legislative direction that puts religious doctrine over practical health ... my God does not bring disease upon people ... God is a loving, compassionate God. . .The devil must smile at his recruited troops of people doing his bidding ... the demon bigots will take control if we do not.
Billings received a thunderous ovation for these bigoted, insulting remarks. Other speakers encouraged groups to apply for federal abstinence money but not use it for abstinence education. In other words, a DHS co-sponsored seminar encouraged school health officials to break the law.
In 1997, Wilson launched an abstinence program of his own — the Community Challenge Grant (CCG) program — which appropriated $63 million for local abstinence-based programs. But the first round of grants went almost exclusively to Kinsey-type sex education programs. CCG rejected an Escondido abstinence-based program’s application because it was told by CCG Director Anna Ramirez that the program, Community Impact Program, was “abstinence only,” and that abstinence was not proven effective! This author obtained the DHS scores sheets used for grading the Community Impact Program. They were downgraded because the program “relies heavily on volunteers,” was connected to a “Right to Life/religious agency,” its “strategies — very narrow,” and it promotes “personal purity.” Whoa nelly, we can't have purity!
Enraged legislators, hearing that pro-abstinence groups were being rejected, met DHS Director Kim Belshe, who committed verbally and in writing that “abstinence-oriented programs will be funded.” It never happened. DHS funded a total of 107 sex education groups; only two promote abstinence in any meaningful way. At least five applicants from San Diego, Orange County, Stockton, and San Francisco were turned down for emphasizing abstinence.
The Capitol Resource Institute’s Michael Bowman said, “If the state is already telling kids not to smoke or do drugs, why is DHS afraid to tell kids to say no to pre-marital sex?” Assemblyman Curt Pringle asked how and why certain applications were downgraded, even taking his concerns to the governor’s office, but nothing happened. The CCG bureaucrats, after all, are the same people who co-sponsored the seminar bashing the federal abstinence program.
So, California’s three sex-education programs allegedly designed to promote abstinence — the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program funded by the Department of Education, the state-funded, DHS-managed CCG program, and now the federally-funded, DHS-managed abstinence program — all claim to fund abstinence programs, but the first two don’t and it remains so be seen whether the last one will.
We are left with numerous questions. Does the governor know what his appointees are doing in his name? If he does, will he terminate those acting against his stated views? Will Delaine Eastin continue to allow public schools to use sex education programs that do not comply with California’s sex education codes?
CPR education correspondent Assemblyman Steve Baldwin (AD. 77) was Education Committee chairman in 1996