Readers React: The Trump administration’s insistence on abstinence-only education is wishful thinking

The Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington in 2009.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

To the editor: Abstinence from sexual activity is clearly the only way to completely prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Perhaps the best contraceptive medication would be aspirin — place one between your knees and hold it there.

In reality, abstinence-only programs like those favored by the Trump administration have resulted in increased rates of unplanned pregnancy and STIs. Efforts to prevent these pregnancies depend on access to effective contraception and comprehensive education about preventing pregnancy.

Promoting abstinence rather than contraceptive education is shortsighted and represents wishful thinking, at best. The cognitive development of adolescents lags years behind their physical and hormonal development. They characteristically have poor impulse control, so while we may not want young people to be sexually active, many of them are. We must give them the tools and education they need to protect themselves.

The injunctions should be granted against the Department of Health and Human Services for steering funding to agencies that promote only abstinence programs.


J. Kelly Mantis, MD, Manhattan Beach


To the editor: Of course the supreme irony of the Trump administration preaching abstinence can escape no one. The White House’s attacks on contraception and particularly on abortion are meant to appeal to the president’s God-fearing, conservative base.

But if the truth is to be told, about 20% of pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriage, with the woman sometimes being completely unaware.

So logic would say that either God is the greatest abortion provider, or God doesn’t exist and contraception and abortion are, thank goodness, safe and effective and should be the prerogative of the individuals concerned.

Jane Roberts, Redlands

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