SEX education lessons should be given to schoolchildren as young as five as part of a bid to combat soaring levels of teenage pregnancy and sexual disease, Scotland's most senior public health doctor said last night.
Part of Scotland's problem is that, whilst sex education is compulsory, teaching children about contraception is not. This Fucking Stupid Initiative was something that I reported back in January 2006.
One of my friends is a teacher in the upper ends of a primary school, and she told me something that made me repeatedly bang my head off the table in frustration and frenziedly clench and unclench my fists in impotent rage. Now, as we all know, for bookdrunk has spelt it out numerous times (and god knows it is obvious enough), that if you wish to curb STDs and unwanted teenage pregnancies, then you need to educate the kiddies.
The government and the Scottish Executive have made much of their improved sex education, and obviously they are to be lauded for these efforts. Unfortunately, some of it is completely pointless, as my friend explained.
She is not allowed to teach her kids about contraception.
Yes, you did read that right. She is allowed to teach them about sex, but not contraception. She can teach them about how babies are made, but not how you can have sex without getting pregnant. She can teach them about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, but not how they might protect against them. She is supposed to get them to talk to their parents; she can, indeed, direct them to their parents, but she, herself, is not allowed to tell them about contraception.
You have to teach, as it were, both sides of the equation, you know.
The second amusing article comes from the Telegraph.
Sex education initiatives are failing to control the spiralling teenage pregnancy crisis, ministers have admitted for the first time.
Actually, as Timmy points out, the rate of teen pregnancy is actually down by 11.4% so it is hardly a "spiralling" crisis.
However, there are an undesirable—undesirable if, like me, you think that children attempting to raise children is a bad thing—number of teenage pregnacies occurring but the reason is really quite simple: the government pays women to have children.
What's the government doing to discourage teenagers from having babies? Well, setting up targets and spending £100 millions a year on quango's and advertising no doubt.
And, more pertinently, what's the government doing to encourage them?
Er ... offering them £175 a week guaranteed net income (plus other bits and pieces) plus priority in allocation of council housing [PDF]? OK, under-18s get slightly less than that, but they only have to wait a year or two for the full amount to kick in.
And once you in the lone parent trap, the welfare system is designed to keep you there.
Furthermore, this guaranteed income is going to appeal to the young and the poor more than the rich and well-educated because it is, relatively speaking, a larger amount of money to them.
Thus you have the young and the poor churning out children whilst the well-educated and well-off wait until they can afford to pay for the children themselves.
You want the rate of teenage pregnancies to come down? Fine: stop paying young girls to have children.