A tiny town on Cape Cod has taken one thing off its back-to-school list: parental involvement. To the astonishment of most every media outlet in America, the Provincetown school board voted unanimously to pass out condoms to all students—starting with first graders. Under Massachusetts law, individual school districts are allowed to make their own policies about sex education. But in the first grade? Six-year-olds are usually worried about catching cooties—not Chlamydia! As if that weren’t outrageous enough, school leaders won’t allow parents to opt-out. The rule specifically states that Provincetown will not honor requests from moms and dads who want to keep their kids out of the distribution program. In fact, some board members argued that the new policy didn’t go far enough. Committee member Shannon Patrick actually complained that students can’t have private access to the stash of condoms. “I don’t like that students can’t be discreet about this,” she told reporters. “They have to go and ask for it. I’d rather them not have the conversation.” I suppose she would prefer baskets of free birth control at the elementary school doors?
Regardless of how liberal the community may be, it boggles my mind that these activists are getting away with openly defying a family’s authority. In district after district, schools are creeping in and substituting their judgment for that of parents’. It’s all part of the Left’s broader strategy to sexualize children and break down inhibitions so that they become the next generation of Planned Parenthood clients. Beth Singer, the Provincetown superintendent tried to argue, “They are children. They often act without information—on assumption, things they’ve heard… I think information is always important for kids.”
She’s right. Information is important—from parents. In most schools, kids can’t even take a Tylenol without their mom’s or dad’s permission, but now it’s okay to encourage six-year-olds to have sex without ever calling home? On matters that directly affect a child’s health, it is imperative that families are central in the decision-making process. Even parents who are supportive of condoms for older children should be warned that research shows they aren’t effective. Greater access to contraception doesn’t reduce teen pregnancies or abortion. David Paton, who has authored four major studies in this area, went so far as to say that “It is clear that providing more family planning… has actually led to an increase [in contraception rates]… It appears that if people have access to family planning advice, they think they automatically have a lower risk of pregnancy.”
Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of “health care” that this administration envisioned for every school in America when it passed ObamaCare. School-based clinics, free birth control pills, millions of dollars for Planned Parenthood—it’s all in there. And when those fail, as even liberals expect them to, taxpayers will give free abortions to every woman who wants one. What a difference an administration makes. Under President Bush, kids learned about the real ABCs: abstinence, be faithful, and (as a last resort) contraception.
Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.