Sex ed: alternatives to the 'Eeek, don't do it' approach

Regarding the Nov. 9 article "In Texas, a stand to teach 'abstinence only' in sex ed": The Texas State Board of Education has made an unwise - and unhealthy - decision to eliminate any information about condoms or contraception as effective means of preventing pregnancy and disease in the new health textbooks. Rather than deal with the reality of what teenagers face in their daily lives, those in a position of power in the state have abandoned their responsibilities in helping young people become healthy, educated adults.

Denying young people complete and accurate information about their sexual health will not prevent unintended pregnancies or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. It will, however, prevent them from making responsible and informed decisions about their health and futures.
William Smith
New York
Vice President for Public Policy

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS)

I can't believe it's the 21st century and we still continue to believe that uninformed youth is the way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including AIDS. I grew up with that thinking, got pregnant as a teen, and have paid severely for it for 50 years. Our children deserve better.

Children are curious and we should talk to them frankly. Talking to your children about sex does not mean they will run right out and try it; it will make them think and ask questions - and that is a good thing.
Mary Tucker
Frisco City, Ala.

The people advocating total abstinence until marriage have a point, of course, but it strikes me that it must have been a very long time since they were young. Instead of taking the "eeek, don't do it" approach, I think it would be far wiser to discuss and to explain the possibilities of sexual behavior, and the absolutely essential factor of good protection, with a caring adult. My husband and I have seven kids and 14 grandkids, and we've sweated this out with all but the very youngest. It is doable. So do it!
Jan Overstreet
Murphys, Calif.

Moral reasons for not reelecting Bush

Regarding the Nov. 8 article "A 'moral voter' majority?": Much has been made of the erroneously begotten conclusion that voters elected Bush for "moral" reasons. I, for one, voted against Bush for very strongly held moral reasons: I believe that actions such as spurious invasion of a sovereign nation, refusing to honor contractual responsibilities, marginalizing and defaming our allies, and actively working to widen the divide between rich and poor in this country are all morally repugnant. I also believe that my government should stay out of my body, and church should stay out of government.

To imply that these beliefs are somehow "immoral" - as is being done regularly in the mainstream media, and as is done by the offhand treatment of this stance - is not only unreasonable, but proof that the extremist right has manipulated this public discourse skillfully. Let's dispense with the moral/amoral framework for this conversation, as it is only polarizing.
Jasmine Krotkov
Neilhart, Mont.

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