“Peel plans to give out 15,000 kits in a campaign to promote safe sex,” declared a Toronto Star headline on January 31, 1989. Sue Monaghan, a nurse and health promotion officer in Peel County, just west of Toronto, said that too often the battle against AIDS couples ignore the simple contraceptive measures which are available. “Because no one knows anyone with AIDS,” she continued, “They like to think it’s other people’s problems – homosexuals, crazed druggies, promiscuous people. There’s generally a feeling that it won’t happen to us.”
With the help of a $270,000 grant from provincial funds, the health department has created Healthy Sexuality Clinics. Mrs. Monaghan explained that the danger of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases has required a whole new attitude to what goes on behind closed bedroom doors. The alternative to anti-AIDS contraception is the risk of catching the deadly through the exchange of bodily fluids. So the health department will give away 15,000 kits containing condoms and contraceptive foam during its April campaign to promote safe sex.
Two comments can be made about this campaign: First, it is a lie to call a campaign which promotes promiscuity a campaign for healthy sexuality – Second, the Peel health department ignores the correlation between the provision of sex information and contraceptives on the one hand and teenage pregnancy on the other.
Up, not Down
The second point is the subject of Chapter Six of Jacqueline Kasun’s book The War Against Population. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, she writes, the government-sponsored family planning and sex education campaign in the U.S. expanded at an astonishing rate. The Guttmacher Institute estimated that expenditures rose from $13.5 million in 1968 to $279 million in 1978, and to $377.5 million in 1981. What was the result? Melvin Zelnik and John F. Kanter reported that the proportion of teenage women who had been premaritally pregnant rose from nine per cent in 1971 to 13 per cent in 1976 and 16 per cent in 1979.
The rising trends were also chartered by the Guttmacher Institute in a 1981 booklet Teenage Pregnancy: The Problem That Hasn’t Gone Away. Yet, the headline over its chart said misleadingly, “Better Use of Contraceptives Bring Teen Pregnancy Down.” Susan Roylance calculated that when births and abortions were added together, the adolescent pregnancy rate had increased by 36 per cent during the 1970s – closely matching the increase in family-planning expenditures. Every additional million dollars granted to the family planners by the federal government, Miss Kasun explains, was followed in two years by another two thousand adolescent pregnancies. Moreover, the fifteen states with the highest expenditures on family planning showed the largest increases I abortion and single mothers.
“Safe” sex fails
These facts were presented to the 1981 congressional hearings on federal funding for family planning, and were supported by other evidence. The adolescent pregnancy rate declined between 1957 and 1971, at which time the new federally funded sex programs began to expand in earnest; after that came an increase in teenage pregnancy, with an explosive increase in abortions after 1972.
After 1976, there were no further declines in teenage pregnancy, despite massive government spending. Not only did teenage pregnancy increase when the government intervened to control it, but it decreased when visits to family-planning clinics declined. For example, in 1980, the State of Utah began requiring parental consent for contraceptives given to minors, and the following year the pregnancy rate began declining as well. The problems the promoters of “safe sex” are facing are those which they themselves have created.
Planned Parenthood Policies
A major statistical study published by the Guttmacher Institute in 1980 credited the U.S. family-planning program with reducing adolescent fertility. But Jacqueline Kasun explains how it was reduced. There were numerous public programs providing intensive one-on-one counseling for young pregnant women. The easy access to abortion, together with its active promotion, did reduce births significantly. A family planning and abortion referral clinic operating in St. Paul, Minnesota schools, for example, put sufficient pressure on students to achieve a remarkable reduction in births in a short time. In a San Bernadino, California program similar activist methods were used; adolescent girls who came to the health department for a pregnancy test were soon contacted by a nurse or guidance counselor, and almost all of them agreed to “participate” in what was suggested for them. In Hackensack, N.J., Planned Parenthood and similar organizations boasted a 75 per cent rate of abortions among pregnant teenagers.
On the assumption that government-funded agencies have the right to reduce adolescent “fertility” through abortions, whether or not pregnant girls are faced with strong pressure for abortion or even coercion, their programs have been highly successful. Otherwise, the facts and figures are shocking. The government programs have encouraged abortion. And in doing so they have encouraged behaviour which might otherwise not have occurred: they have stimulated sexual activity.
Jacqueline Kasun concludes her chapter on adolescent pregnancy with a question: should the government of a free society devote itself to manipulating the hearts and minds and bodies of its people in a direction dictated by special interest groups?
Adolescent-pregnancy controllers, she points out, have no standards of value, or of method, other than to reduce fertility, ad to that end they do not hesitate to distort the facts to use means that intimidate and flirt with coercion.
There is no suggestion that Peel County is employing coercion in its “Healthy Sexuality” clinics, but is certainly employing the threat of AIDS in a very dubious way. And, as Jacqueline Kasun shows, its campaign for “safe sex” is almost certain to increase the rate of promiscuity, teenage pregnancy, and abortion. All paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario.