A few weeks ago Planned Parenthood was found on the front page of my daily newspaper crying crocodile tears about the scandalous rate of abortion in Canada, which it seems has increased every year between 1985 and 1997, when it stood at 33.5 abortions for every 100 live births.

This is very interesting in light of the fact that one of Planned Parenthood’s favorite hobby-horses – sex education in schools – also spread its tentacles wider during that period. What is wrong with this picture? Isn’t one of sex-ed’s purported main goals to lessen incidence of unwanted pregnancy?

PP is looking for scapegoats, and blames government for having “no strategy around unintended pregnancy in Canada.” A look in the proverbial mirror would identify the more likely culprit.

Planned Parenthood, you see, insists on promoting “sex positivity” – teaching about sex within a context of “sexual pleasure.” In an October 1994 radio interview, Planned Parenthood Foundation executive Jim Foulds affirmed that: “I don’t think [abstinence] needs to be encouraged. I would never want to put that pressure of total abstinence on the teenager that that’s the only thing you can do. It’s just too much of a denial of the biology and it’s too much of a denial of what we see.”

That sort of dogged commitment to the ideology of “sexual-liberation” makes Planned Parenthood’s hand-wringing about the “appalling” abortion rate disingenuous. The true remedy for teen pregnancy and the pandemic spread of sexually transmitted disease is sexual abstinence before marriage, but of course the libertine guerrillas of the sexual revolution recoil in horror from that.

Consequently, sex-ed is a spectacular failure, arguably making the problems it claims to address even worse. Teenagers know more about sexuality and have freer access to birth control than ever before in history, but teen pregnancy, STDs, and abortion are also at historic highs.

In 1980, New Jersey became the first U.S. state to mandate comprehensive sex education from kindergarten through high school. In 1980, 67.6 per cent of teenage births in New Jersey were to unwed mothers. By 1991 it was 84 per cent – fourth highest among U.S. states.

Conversely, a campaign against teen pregnancy financed by Maryland business leaders, that included advertising billboards reading: “Virgin – Teach Your Kids It’s Not a Dirty Word,” coincided with a five per cent drop in teen pregnancies and a 16 percent decrease in abortions. Young and Modern magazine reported in February 1996 that nearly two-thirds of sexually experienced high school girls wish they’d waited until they were older.

The philosophical assumptions underlying sex-ed theory are based not in scientific knowledge, but largely on the quack research of Alfred Kinsey and his followers, and on a political and ideological agenda to promote, defend, and extend the supposed “freedoms” of the 1960s sexual revolution.

Those who enthusiastically advocate this agenda assume at best the defeatist attitude that teens are incorrigibly randy little animals who are going to have sex no matter what adult authority says, so the best plan is to pass out condoms and tell them to feel good about promiscuity. If that doesn’t work out, there’s always a trip to the abortion clinic as Plan B. This amounts to self-fulfilling prophesy.

What does work? Objective research indicates that a positive and trusting relationship with parents who set moral and ethical standards within a traditional two-parent family is an important determinant of responsible teenage sexual behaviour, as is formal religious observance. Girls from single-parent families are more likely to engage in early sex than girls who grow up in two-parent families. Church-going teens are least likely to indulge in pre-marital intercourse, while teens with no religious affiliation are most likely to.

But whatever their background, what parents could be telling their kids is something like this: Over-indulgence in ANYTHING is jading and ultimately unsatisfying. If you play a favorite piece of music too often, you’ll tire of it and eventually get sick of it. Sex can and should be something special, reserved for the person you commit to spending the rest of your life with. If you reduce it to “just another natural bodily function, like going to the bathroom,” sex ceases to be special, and becomes a form of biological slavery. Abstinence, on the other hand, leads to self-discipline, self-possession, and self-control, without which there can be no true freedom. That sort of sex education used to be common sense, which has become one of the least common commodities in contemporary North American culture.