Mary Alexandra Pooler
Thursday Review Contributing Writer
According to the Associated Press, Michele Obama has been busy promoting her health effort known as Let's Move!, which encourages young people to develop healthy habits through improved nutrition and regular exercise. While so many on the political Right seek to attack this program, I must say that I see a lot of merit in it.
I agree with the First Lady's desire for children to develop healthy habits. I agree that health and wellness are important. It's difficult to make the time for exercise and even more challenging to eat nutritious food, and it's not always fun. On the other hand, it's easy in our culture to give in to both sweets and sloth, and even though the government is pushing these healthy measures, people are still going to eat junk food. But Michelle Obama is absolutely right. “The physical and emotional health,” says the First Lady, “of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake."
I only wish that the Obama administration had the same attitude toward fixing our nation's out- of-control sexual habits, because what Michelle Obama said above is just as true when it comes to the sexual behavior of young Americans: our health depends on it.
According to the HIV/AIDS prevention site set up by the United States government, there are only 2 guaranteed ways to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS: remaining abstinent, or being monogamous with an uninfected partner.
The Center for Disease Control's prevention site for STDs writes that the best way to avoid STD infection is by not engaging in sex, or having one sexual partner for a long period of time who is not infected.
According to Planned Parenthood, an organization that works every day to sexualize our youth and promote the use of contraception, abstinence is described as “safe, easy, and convenient.” The advantages of abstinence are as follows: it's free and there are no hormonal or medical side effects. The site goes on to say that people choose to be abstinent in order to “focus on school, a career, and extracurricular activities.” The only disadvantage listed is that it may be difficult. Reading the page in its entirety, where it even encourages partners who have already engaged in sex that it's not too late to begin practicing abstinence, one has to wonder "Why the hell am I not doing this?"
Why does Planned Parenthood have such opposition to abstinence education? Free? Easy? Convenient? Safe? 100% effective? Sounds pretty good to me! Yet often organizations like Planned Parenthood cross the line with their propaganda to the point where instead of providing safety for those who will engage in sex “anyway,” they teach that being sexually active at 14 is completely normal, implying that being abstinent is unhealthy and abnormal. They participate in the same peer pressure that leads many young teenagers to feel that relationships must be based on sex instead of allowing emotional intimacy and trust to serve as a foundation.
Many on the Left who seem so dedicated to do everything necessary to improve the health of our nation are recklessly ignoring one of the healthiest measures offered to us by medical professionals. Planned Parenthood and the government continue to insist that contraceptives are safe and reliable, though even when used correctly, a condom will fail 2-3% of the time. And according to Dr. Harold Jaffee, chief of epidemiology at the National Centers for Disease Control "You just can’t tell people it’s all right to do whatever you want as long as you wear a condom. It (AIDS) is just too dangerous a disease to say that."
Instead of focusing on pushing people to be sexually responsible, we are giving in to a culture that does not treat sex with reverence or gravity at all. For many, being healthy sexually—through moderation and abstinence—is not worth the effort. Virginity, abstinence, and even celibacy are viewed by the mainstream media and the entertainment mavens of Hollywood and New York as an extreme and unnecessary form of self-denial while viewing themselves as the healthy ones. They are the runners and salad eaters, and we are the couch potatoes and pigs!
Health and wellness are important. It's important for children to develop healthy habits, including healthy relationships. It's difficult to abstain from sex and remain monogamous, and it's not always fun. In our media-saturated culture, it's easy (and even convenient) to give in to lust. Even if the government pushes these healthy measures, people are still going to have sex.
But Michelle Obama is right: "The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake."