Palin for condoms

Running for governor of Alaska in 2006, Sarah Palin said she was against “explicit” sex education in schools but said she favors teaching about contraception and condoms, reports the LA Times.

. . . (In July 2006) she completed a candidate questionnaire that asked, would she support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs instead of “explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

Palin wrote, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

But in August of that year, Palin was asked during a KTOO radio debate if “explicit” programs include those that discuss condoms. Palin said no and called discussions of condoms “relatively benign.”

“Explicit means explicit,” she said. “No, I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I am not anti-contraception. But, yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something I would support also.”

I wonder what “explicit” means to her? It must be what “is” meant to Bill Clinton.

Who knew the ’08 presidential campaign would focus on the particulars of the sex education views of a candidate for vice president?

Update: It’s hard to change teens’ behavior, but some sex education programs have some success, reports USA Today. In the September issue of Sexuality Research & Social Policy, researcher Douglas Kirby analyzed studies of nine abstinence programs and 48 comprehensive sex education programs.

He says a couple of the abstinence programs showed “weak evidence” for delaying sex, but most did not delay initiation of sex. Nearly half of the comprehensive programs delayed first sex, reduced the number of partners and increased condom or contraceptive use. One-quarter of the 48 programs reduced the frequency of sex.

Overseas, there’s no correlation between sex ed and teen births: Countries with comprehensive sex ed and those with none at all have much lower teen birth rates than the U.S. Of course, they also have lower birth rates for adult women. It’s the culture.

About Joanne


  1. To those who wanted to see education become a major campaign issue, well, here it is! Hmmm. I wonder if Ed in ’08 is behind this.

  2. I suspect Gov. Palin’s distinction is somewhere close to the line between “sex education” and “sex training.” Condoms can be discussed, but demonstrations with bananas, cucumbers, or cigars are inappropriate.

  3. Cardinal Fang says:

    Mike, I don’t understand why discussing the effectiveness of condoms is OK, but showing kids how to use a condom so it works is banned. Do we want kids to use condoms when they eventually have sex, or don’t we? If we do, don’t we want the students to use them correctly, to actually prevent AIDS transmission and pregnancy?

    Now, showing the students how to put a condom on with your teeth– that would be sex training.

  4. Maybe the difference is like the difference between the ‘sex ed’ I had in high school health class (where babies come from, what the forms of contraceptives are and how they work, STDs, etc) and the ‘human sexuality’ course I had in college, that discussed everything from high school plus erogenous zones, sexual positions, etc.

  5. Richard Nieporent says:

    Do we want kids to use condoms when they eventually have sex, or don’t we? If we do, don’t we want the students to use them correctly, to actually prevent AIDS transmission and pregnancy?

    Cardinal Fang, your response reminds me of the old joke:

    A woman goes to the doctor. “Doctor,” she says, “I have ten children and I really must not have any more because we can’t afford it. What can I do?”
    The doctor carefully explains about contraception and gives her a packet of condoms. He says to her, “Put one of these on his organ before you have sex.”
    She tells him that she will and leaves. Three months later she’s pregnant again. The doctor asks her, “Didn’t you do as I said?”
    “Yes doctor, you told me to put one on his organ before sex. Well we don’t have an organ so I put one on the piano.

    Even in my day, teenagers knew how to use condoms without having to be shown how to do so in class. If teenagers were as ignorant as you make them out to be then the new punchline to the joke would be “yes I put it on the cucumber just like I was shown in class”.

  6. <>

    If we’d teach the kids to read, they could just follow the directions on the box.