The Politics of Abstinence: Media Misinformation

Abstaining from sex may be the easy part. Getting the facts right about Colorado’s new sex education law seems to be as mystical as unlocking the ancient secrets of the universe.

A review of media stories over the last four months – from the introduction of a bill sponsored by Rep. Nancy Todd (D-Arapahoe) to require school districts to incorporate science-based curricula in sex education programs, the signing of the bill by Gov Bill Ritter to the actual implementation of the new law on July 1 – turns up a slew of inaccurate, under-developed, and slanted reports by mainstream outlets and conservative talk radio.Aside from the ridiculous, and unchallenged, claim by conservative lawmaker Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) in the Rocky Mountain News that the requirement would lead schools to teach a “comprehensive condom, contraception, and copulation” curriculum, the media didn’t do much better separating the schoolyard myths from the facts.

The inaccuracies center on three main points: