The editorial “Abstinence-only classes waste of time, money” (April 8) is in sore need of a response. The claim that “abstinence-only classes” are futile in preventing pregnancy and venereal diseases is patently false, because clearly nothing works more effectively than abstinence.

Apparently, that is the Charleston Gazette’s way of saying that young teens are not capable of self-control, and their self-gratification must be accommodated at all costs, even if it leads to irreparable physical harm and emotional suffering.

Yes, a solemn commitment to “helping teenagers avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases” should be everyone’s concern. However, the Gazette’s “solemn commitment” to help teens doesn’t ring true; especially since its solution is to shift the blame for West Virginia’s “pathetic rate of teen pregnancy” onto rural schools that teach abstinence.

Could it be that West Virginia’s high rate of teen pregnancy is not due to rural schools’ abstinence programs, but maybe as a direct result of West Virginia’s “good sex education laws” and “effective birth control information?” Birth control pills, patches and condoms don’t prevent problems; they merely postpone them.

To give such information to teens about sex — without arousing sensual feelings — is as realistic as trying to describe the nature of fire, while concealing the heat.

Obviously, the Gazette is really uncomfortable with “puritanical” sex-ed; but a Family Planning brand of sex-education is far more acceptable to it.

Pat Truman


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