HEALTH, NEW ZEALAND - Written by iwishart on Sunday, January 8, 2012
16:59 - 0 Comments
TEENS REJECT 'SAFE SEX' EDUCATION
SUPPORT PARENTAL NOTIFICATION AND 'RIGHT TO LIFE'
By Bob McCoskrie
A nationwide poll of 600 young people aged 15-21 poll has found that
they hold conservative values on sex issues – which are significantly
similar to the views of parents.
When asked "Do you think sex education in schools should teach values,
abstinence and consequences such as pregnancy, or just teach safe
sex?" only 19% supported just the 'safe sex' message currently being
taught in schools, with one in three (34%) wanting 'values,
abstinence, and consequences such as pregnancy' taught instead, and a
further 42% asking for a combination of both – especially amongst
older teens. The support for just the 'safe sex' message dropped even
lower for the older teens.
"This is a direct rebuke from young people to the 'use a condom' and
'everyone's doing it' messages being pushed by groups like Family
Planning, AIDS Foundation and Rainbow Youth," says Bob McCoskrie,
National Director of Family First NZ.
"Many parents were rightly horrified last year when details of what
was being taught in schools under the guise of 'sex education'
surfaced. Judging by the results of the current approach – which is a
good place to start – sex education has been an utter failure. New
Zealand has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the OECD,
our STD rates are out of control and the number of teenage girls
having abortions continues to rise."
"For those youth who are sexually active, they are not being told the
truth. Groups like the Family Planning Association and the AIDS
Foundation are perpetuating the myth that as long as you use a condom,
you can pretty well do what you like in terms of promiscuity,
experimentation, and fringe behaviours – with little or no information
on the physical or emotional ramifications or prevention of disease."
In one example, a mixed class of boys and girls were asked by the AIDS
Foundation if they had masturbated lately and were given condoms and
strawberry-flavoured lubricant. They were also given a leaflet
featuring graphic pictures, terms including "c*ck" and "w*nk", and
advice on the best condoms. Reports last year highlighted that
children as young as 12 are being taught about oral sex and told it's
acceptable to play with a girl's private parts as long as "she's okay
with it". In other cases, 14-year-old girls are being taught how to
put condoms on plastic penises, and one female teacher imitated the
noises she made during org*sm to her class of 15-year-olds. One
concerned father took his 12-year-old son out of a sex education class
at his all-boy school after he came home upset about what had happened
during one of the lessons. It included a question-and-answer session
that focused on, "I have learned that my girlfriend has a thing called
a clit*ris. I really want to play with it. Is that okay?" The answer
was: "Yes, if you ask her and she's okay with it."
A poll of parents in 2010 found that three out of four parents of
young children want the abstinence message taught in sex education –
with 69% of kiwis overall supporting the 'wait' message.
When asked "Provided it won't put the girl in physical danger, should
parents be told if their school-age daughter is pregnant and
considering getting an abortion?" 59% of young respondents thought the
parents should be told. 34% disagreed. More young men than women
agreed, but both had majority agreement.
"It is significant that even young people can see the importance of
having parents informed and involved, even when they know that those
same parents will be rightly disappointed and upset. This is a very
strong response from young people, and is a rebuke to the politicians
in 2004 who chose to exclude parents from this process when debating
the provision in the Care of Children Bill," says Mr McCoskrie.
According to the Care of Children Act 2004, access to abortion is not
restricted on grounds of age. Section 38 of the Act says that a girl
of any age can give consent to an abortion and that consent operates
as if it were given by her parents. Therefore, her parents need never
know that their daughter is having such a procedure. Family First is
aware of young girls being written to directly asking them to make an
appointment to have the Gardasil vaccine.
"This all effectively means that while a parent has to sign a letter
for their daughter to go on a school trip to the zoo or to play in the
netball team, they are totally excluded from any knowledge or granting
of permission for that same child to be put on the pill, have a
vaccine, or have a surgical abortion," says Mr McCoskrie.
When parents were asked a similar question in a 2010 poll, 79%
responded yes – only 12% said no.
Family First is asking for the law to be amended to allow for parental
notification in all cases of medical advice, prescriptions and
procedures unless it can be proved to a family court that it would
place the child at extreme risk.
"Parental notification laws in Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, and other
US states have seen a drop in both the pregnancy rate and the teen
abortion rate – a win-win situation for all concerned. This is
especially relevant when almost 80 teenagers a week have an abortion
in NZ," says Mr McCoskrie.
UNBORN CHILD'S RIGHT TO LIFE
When asked "Do you believe an unborn child or foetus has a right to be
born?" 56% of youth respondents said they believed an unborn child or
foetus has a right to be born. Slightly more young women than young
men agreed – 58% to 55%. Those aged 15 to 17 were strongest in support
"This is a pleasantly pro-life view from our young people. A decision
from the Court of Appeal last June that the law does not recognize or
confer a right to life on the unborn child sends a dangerous message,
and should make NZ'ers feel very queasy," says Mr McCoskrie.
"The message that an unborn child has absolutely no rights is
completely inconsistent with warning messages about prenatal alcohol
and drug use, recognising the unborn child as a victim with respect to
violent crimes on pregnant women, and even the report released by Sir
Peter Gluckman referring to 'environmental risks that occur
"On the one hand we are imploring pregnant women to live a healthy
lifestyle to enhance the wellbeing of their unborn child, yet on the
other hand the courts are telling us that the child has no right to
life. That's a contradictory message that shows a complete disregard
for the most vulnerable. Just when does a child obtain the right to
live? 30 weeks? 40 weeks? In the birthing room? At the first Plunket
visit?" asks Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is calling for a law change that gives an unborn child
the same human rights as any other human being.
"Teenagers are right to say that we should not allow discrimination
against our most vulnerable."
The Curia Market Research poll surveyed 600 15-21 year olds
nationwide. The poll was conducted between 4 and 6 December 2011 and
has a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.
READ the full results
Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi
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