In my previous item, I overzealously tarred abstinence programs unfairly. Mark Hershberger sent me an email pointing out that abstinence programs have enjoyed some success in Africa, which, in fact makes sense to me. Clearly abstaining from sex until you decide you actually want children is incredibly effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, I can see that in cultures that do not encourage abstinence, or even communicate to people (women in particular) that abstinence is an option, doing so would prove effective.
Indeed, my overall problem with the Bush administration’s position is that I don’t believe that they have come to it through empirical evidence, but rather through religious or moral conviction, or even worse, through political expedience. Deciding how to best tackle the population crisis (and STD crisis) in the developing world based on what will get you votes two or four years down the road is cynical in the extreme, and it pisses me off. However, that’s not really an excuse for going all Michael Moore, drawing broad and misinformed generalizations, and trying to pass them off as common knowledge. I’ll do better.