Chicago Public Schools' top doctor Kenneth Fox has been a pediatrician for 30 years. As Chicago schools move to make condoms available to students in the name of "prevention," Dr. Fox is leading the way. According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, Fox believes, "Young people have the right to accurate and clear information to make healthy decisions. And they need access to resources to protect their health and the health of others as they act on those decisions."
On the right to accurate and clear information for "young people" to make healthy decisions, we agree. We would strongly disagree, however, that distributing condoms in schools is a "resource to protect their health." The healthiest sexual "context" is in marriage been a man and a woman. Children are not able to consent to sex at the age of 10 or 11 in 5th grade. Making condoms available to children at that age is the opposite of a "healthy decision." It may even facilitate the exploitation of children.
Efforts like these in Chicago Public Schools are a hallmark of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Scout Bratt of the Chicago Women's Health Center said as much, "The idea is to say we are educational centers, we are community health centers essentially, and we know to invest in young folks' health and well-being by providing comprehensive sex ed, it means we also need to provide the resources." For those of us who want to protect children's innocence and honor parental rights, the tendency to view schools as access points to children or vehicles for the delivery of "social services" is a problem. Schools are institutions for learning, not "community health centers."
When adults make policies about protecting children that involve giving condoms or other contraceptives to students at school (meaning outside parental supervision), one has to wonder, who actually benefits? It is never beneficial for a 10-year-old to be sexually active. The very suggestion that prepubertal children have sexual agency is disturbingly repugnant. Children do not have a "right" to have sex. Children are not sex objects and can never meaningfully consent to sexual acts. Adults cannot claim these false rights for children -- and adults who try must at the very least be viewed with suspicion. If the justification for giving condoms to children is a problem with sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy in that age cohort, why are adults in Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Department of Public Health expecting children to solve that problem? Why wouldn't adults intervene in the life of that child to find out why a 10-year-old boy or girl thinks they need a condom? What is happening in that child's life that leads them to need access to contraceptives? The appropriate "resource" for children in this situation is not simply "health care" but law enforcement and the protection of adults.
FRC's Mary Szoch explains, "Family Research Council opposes exposing children (or anyone) to explicit material, encouraging children in any way to have sex or commit sexual acts, and creating a hypersexualized culture that will certainly have damaging long-term consequences for children. Family Research Council believes our culture should promote the virtue of chastity and teach that the appropriate context for sexual intimacy is in a loving marital union between a man and a woman. When fifth graders are at school, they should be learning American history, practicing multiplying fractions, performing experiments that demonstrate how the water cycle works, and reading literature that expands their minds and teaches moral truths. No part of fifth grade curriculum should involve access to condoms and the promotion of sexual activity, which obviously is exploitation of minors."
Thank you, Mary! I couldn't agree more. Parents in Chicago Public Schools must oppose this program and protect their children. And they must demand public officials who also protect children.
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