LETTER- What's WYW's real worry?
I'm writing in response to your coverage of the recent Worth Your Wait (WYW) abstinence-only sex education meeting ["No-sex ed: Abstinence-only aims for local support," May 3], and a WYW brochure I subsequently received in the mail.
WYW alleges, among other things, that parents are too busy to provide the kind of communication and education, particularly sex education, that will prevent children from engaging in risky behavior (read: the sex education that WYW would prefer for parents to provide). Melissa Cox of WYW also claims that "Planned Parenthood does contraceptives well, and that's great– but the abstinence message is not being heard at all, and that is an injustice."
A key distinction is that Planned Parenthood does not provide or unduly influence the sex education component of the curriculum in the public school system, as WYW seeks to do. The fact is, according to two of my four children who have taken Health at Charlottesville High School, abstinence is discussed as part of the curriculum.
If, as Cox states, "[WYW] does not seek to eliminate comprehensive sex education programs," then they should feel confident in providing supplemental abstinence-only sex education as desired by constituents, outside the scope of the public school system. As a matter of justice, WYW might consider full disclosure of the "failure rate" of abstinence-only sex education and the implications for teens who receive biased, inaccurate information about birth control, sexuality, and "traditional family structures."
I fear that the overarching concern of WYW is not that parents, caregivers, health classes, and healthcare providers are not providing information to teens about sexuality, high risk behavior, and protective factors, or that public school curricula are not covering sex ed and health comprehensively and well, but rather that all of the above are not conveying a message in keeping with the WYW ideology.