Pushing back against a report that teen pregnancy rate in the US is at a nearly 40-year-low due to contraceptive use, America’s leading advocate for abstinence-based sex ed has claimed that comprehensive sex-ed programs are “based on profound ignorance about human nature” and that “the church ladies are having the best sex.”
Leslie Unruh, co-founder of Abstinence Clearinghouse, which has 4,000 affiliates in 50 states and 105 countries, told Truth that Transforms, the flagship radio program of Truth in Action Ministries, that “all the data” backs abstinence-only-until-marriage education.
This despite figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that states with abstinence-only-until-marriage policies continue to see higher rates of teen pregnancy compared to states with schools that teach comprehensive sex education. The CDC says that “strong pregnancy prevention messages directed to teenagers” and the “increased use of contraception” may “have contributed to the recent birth rate declines.”
“The teen birth rate increased during the height of the federal investment in abstinence education,” Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy told Salon. “Researchers who have looked at it closely over the past several years tend to believe it is contraception that is making the difference.”
In 2007, a federal report showed that abstinence-only programs had “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence.” Other research has shown that abstinence-only strategies could deter contraceptive use among teenagers, thus increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy.
Unruh is referring to one study which showed that abstinence-only sex education for 12-year-olds delayed intercourse for only two years — not until marriage. The study group was also held in question as not quite applicable to the question of abstinence-only.
Tracy Clark-Flory reports for Salon that other social conservatives have twisted the fall in teen pregnancies to claim that abstinence-only sex education works.
Thanks to the efforts led by Unruh, 37 states require sex education that includes abstinence, 26 of which require that abstinence be stressed as the best method.
Truth that Transforms host John Rabe described comprehensive sex-ed programs, particularly those which include discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, as “ideological indoctrination.”
“Exactly,” said Unruh, “and you know the information is really designed to have all kinds of family, regardless of how many people were involved, it’s about [sexual] orientation, gender identity, it’s out there, and I’ll tell you it’s really based on profound ignorance about human nature and what makes for a healthy family. It really is the next stage in really the self-destruction of what we call the traditional family and a healthy society. So it’s a fight worth getting involved in and fighting for our kids.”
“[Those who abstain from sex before marriage] have long-term relationships. They have better marriages. They make more money. They’re happier. All the data is there,” she claimed, “and it is time for everybody to recognize it, both in the church and in the public sector that you know what, the church ladies are having the best sex!”
Possibly there’s data on that — but church ladies have a higher divorce rate than non-Christians and atheists.
This is far from the first bizarre statement from Unruh. Martha Kempner on RH Reality Check recounts how in a TV appearance with Unruh, a camera unfortunately caught Kempner with a look on her face that screamed “is this women crazy?”
In a May 2007 appearance on Fox News about a birth control pill that suppresses menstruation, Unruh said:
“This is a real war on women and war on children. We do not need big pharma, National Abortion Rights Action League, who have had a war on children and on babies, to now come in with another drug and to play God! … wanting us, women, who are feminine and have fertility and it’s something to celebrate, wanting us to be like men — c’mon!”
And an investigation by Amanda Robb for MORE discovered that Unruh married her husband six months before the birth of her first child.
In 2006, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) requested an IRS review of the Abstinence Clearinghouse and the Alpha Center, a crisis pregnancy center, also founded by Unruh.
In their letter to the IRS, CREW states that the Abstinence Clearinghouse and the Alpha Center have both violated tax law by not reporting any lobbying activities, even though CREW has found that they both engage in such actions. In addition, CREW claims that the Alpha Center has violated additional tax law by endorsing a candidate for office.
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Screengrab: Dana Carvey as the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live
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