Conservative, pro-life government officials like Steve King* of Iowa and Joseph Pitts* of Pennsylvania are asking for federal funding to be pulled from a Planned Parenthood subsidiary – the website TeenWire – as it recently posted an article which seems to promotes teen use of pornography. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2005-2006 Annual Report, they received approximately $305 million in federal funding, and when there are no federal programs out there which promote comprehensive sexuality education (teaching about abstinence and contraception), representatives are apt to frown upon monies being used for that purpose.
Unfortunately, even for this free-sexuality-expression supporter, the issue isn’t black and white. While I support the encouragement of masturbation and outercourse for teens in relationships looking for sexual gratification, backing underage pornography viewing is dangerous territory. TeenWire’s piece on Birth Control Choices For Teens encourage “safer” sex with by suggesting using fantasy in relationships: “many couples can read or watch sexy stories or pictures together. They can also share or act out sexy fantasies. People do it in person, on the phone, surfing the Internet, or through e-mail or instant messaging.”
Another advice piece, Porn vs. Reality, reminds readers of the site (which is geared to “to provide medically accurate sexual health information for teens on the Internet”) that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to view pornography. However, TeenWire also acknowledges that not everyone follows the rules and then provides a pseudo-warning; “people have different ideas of what is arousing, and there are many different kinds of porn that appeal to people’s different interests.”
Akin to abstinence-plus sexuality education, this “warning” acknowledges that just because teens are told not to do something doesn’t mean that all of them are going to obey (and that they should be careful looking for porn as they might come across something they don’t want to see). TeenWire offers a disclaimer or sorts for those that are unwilling to follow the rules; but does this promote more underage pornography viewing? Opponents to broad sexuality education argue that teaching teens about sex leads to more sex; but what do you think? Does teaching teens about pornography lead them to use more pornography?
A link to the original article that prompted this entry.
Dr. Karen Rayne helps a teenager at her church buy a vibrator.
Reproductive Health Reality Check addresses the defunding of Planned Parenthood’s preventative health care measures.
*Specific representative names found on this article.