Despite having the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, Texas governor Rick Perry still believes that abstinence should be the only principle taught in a sex education class. In an interview that is now becoming famous, The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith discussed the issue with Rick Perry. Sex education programs taught in schools are funded by tax payer dollars and Evans challenged Perry on the wisdom of spending tax money on an ineffective program.
“From my own personal life, abstinence works,” Rick Perry stated boldly. Audience reaction to this statement was muffled and embarrassed giggles. His wife may have something to say about that one.
In the interview, Smith further challenged Perry by asking him to identify statistics that prove abstinence education works better than pure safe sex education or a hybrid of safe sex and abstinence curriculum. Perry was unable to quantify any statistics. In defense of spending tax money to fund “abstinence only” sex education, Perry compared the spending to controversial and unproven programs centered on teen health.
For example, Perry stuttered that the government spent a significant amount of money to check kids for steroids but found only a couple of cases. Perry implied that any results make these expenditures a positive return on investment and compared it to the idea that abstinence education also had a positive return because it did prevent some pregnancies. Again, no factual data was provided by Rick Perry. Sex education, in Perry’s eyes, should be restricted to teaching strictly abstinence.
This interview is yet another example of Perry restricting personal freedom and making judgements on how teens should manage their own health and bodies. A few weeks ago, Perry overturned his own controversial platform requiring HPV vaccines in girls entering the 6th grade. He conceded that he was uninformed in his decision-making. The Texas Tribune interview showcases that Perry also lacks information about sex education theories and statistics.