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Jewish World Review July 9, 2001 / 18 Tamuz 5761

Don Feder

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Surgeon General consults 'working women' on sex ed -- ALONG with his predecessor, Joycelyn Elders (mullah of masturbation education), Surgeon General David Satcher was appointed by President Bill Clinton. It shows, especially in his new report, "A Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior."

There's a telling item buried in a Washington Post story on the report's release. In compiling his manifesto, he consulted a variety of sources, the surgeon general disclosed, including those who would "qualify as commercial sex workers."

"Now, wait a minute," I said to Damon Thompson, a Satcher spokesman. "Are you telling me the surgeon general asked prostitutes how to teach our children about sex?" After checking with his boss, Thompson assured me that "commercial sex workers" would indeed include ladies of the night. The lunatics haven't just taken over the asylum; they're franchising the operation.

That was not the most incredible aspect of the report. Besides hookers, Satcher received sage advice their colleagues in Planned Parenthood, the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States. Somehow, he overlooked the Penthouse Forum.

Armed with this input, Satcher concluded there is no "scientific evidence" that teaching abstinence until marriage alone is effective. In consequence, he urged schools to adopt curricula that praise self control and pass out contraceptives.

Imagine a violence-prevention program where kids are given automatic weapons. Or courses promoting tolerance where students are lectured by white supremacists and Afrocentrists.

Only in the never-never land of sexual pedagogy is "wait until you're married, but here's a condom in case you have an uncontrollable urge in the meantime" considered anything but self-defeating.

Actually, Satcher isn't telling America's youth to wait till marriage. Any old "mutually monogamous" relationship will do. That because our surgeon general understands that "marriage is not perfect."

So, instead of asking adolescents to exercise restraint (with a pocketful of condoms) until they say "I do," Satcher wants them to refrain from getting hot and heavy until they achieve a "mutually monogamous" relationship.

How long is this mutuality to exist before couples hop between the sheets? How is a commitment to exclusivity to be manifested, absent vows exchanged before G-d and man? Quite coincidentally, Satcher's report endorses conclusions he has long held.

In 1994, when Satcher headed the Centers for Disease Control, CDC ran an $800,000 national advertising campaign aimed at America's youth. One ad helpfully advised: "Latex condoms are available in different sizes, colors, and textures. Find one that's right for you." And if you have trouble making a selection, consult your friendly, neighborhood commercial sex worker. That's where the surgeon general goes for advice.

Satcher and the rest of the safe-sex crowd neglect to mention that condoms frequently fail. Leslie Unruh, of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, says she attended a conference of sex educators where a speaker asked the audience if they would have sex with the man or woman of their dreams knowing that person had AIDS and they only have a condom for protection. In a crowd of several hundred, no one raised their hand.

We've had comprehensive sex education (really, erotic indoctrination) for more than 30 years. Children are given instruction in copulation comprehensive by the Kama Sutra's standards. They're warned continually of the perils of nasty microbes and unwanted pregnancy, and drilled in contraception.

Still, each year, there are 1.4 million abortions and 12 million new cases of sexually transmitted disease. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is 33 percent. Since this carnal explosion parallels the triumph of sexual instruction, could cause and effect be at work here?

Streetwalkers often cruise urban areas with strip clubs and adult bookstores. Might there be a connection between stimulation and gratification? Perhaps Satcher should consult informed sources in the commercial sex industry. No self-respecting parakeet would want the bottom of his cage lined with the pages of the good doctor's report.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate