Sex ed and its discontents

Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) is on a mission to discredit the Waxman Report -- which, you'll recall, drew widespread attention the misinformation and gender stereotyping rampant in abstinence-only programs. Souder released a report this week called "Abstinence and Its Critics."

In it, he makes the same old unsupported arguments that abstinence-only works, trots out the same old bunk statistics, and makes the same old distortions of polling data about what sort of sex-ed most parents would like to see. What he doesn't address are the Waxman Report's charges of gender stereotyping in abstinence-only curricula, which leads me to assume that he's probably all for messaging like "wear longer skirts, you sluts" and "boys can't control their urges."

Souder first surfaced on this issue back in May, when he managed to place abstinence-only advocates on a CDC conference panel about STDs. He's now running for re-election and the Cook Report recently downgraded his race from a "solid" to "likely" chance he'll be reelected. The Republicans had to start giving him some money to buy ads. Clearly he expects to gain some political ground with the timely release of his anti-Waxman Report.

Focus on the Family is already fellating Souder for his report, calling him a "defender of life and purity." I think "defender of gender stereotyping and teen pregnancy" is probably more accurate.

On a related note, the Center for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) is suing the Dept. of Health and Human Services for failing to respond to a request for information on how the agency uses federal abstinence dollars to fund crisis-pregnancy centers.

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