The first item you may not be surprised to learn is that while the site runs under the subtext of "a website by teens for teens" that it is heavily influenced by adults with a particular agenda. Adults such as Nora Gelperin who is the training coordinator for the Network for Family Life Education based out of Rutgers University. The organization has been renamed to the more child friendly name of Answer and has been the recipient of government sponsored earmarks for the New Jersey Teen to Teen education project.
Here is how the Sex, Etc. editors describe themselves.
Sex, Etc. is an award-winning national magazine and Web site on sexual health that is written by teens, for teens. It is part of the Teen-to-Teen Sexuality Education Project developed by Answer (formerly the Network for Family Life Education), a leading national organization dedicated to providing and promoting comprehensive sexuality education. Answer is part of the Center for Applied Psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
And here is the part that they leave out of that particular description. Training coordinator Nora Gelperin was a former community educator with the Planned Parenthoods of Western Washington and Greater Northern New Jersey. So lets dispel the myth that this is a site "by teens for teens"; that is just the cover story. Likewise I would venture to say that many parents would object to the efforts of Gelperin when it comes to educating children about sex. Perhaps it's just me but it is clear that some checks and balances are lacking here.
Alarm bells go off all over the place when one delves into the logistics of the site. Let's start off with rudimentary safeguards that should be in place to prevent young pre-teens from accessing this content without the supervision of their parents. (Isn't this a law in some states?) The site is set up to present the aura that parents will be informed but that mechanism is fake. The checks that appear to be in place to prevent pre-teens from signing up for the site sponsored e-mails, advocacy literature and monthly previews without parental notification don't do anything at all. Children are supposed to add a parent's e-mail address as part of the sign up process yet the e-mail address has no validation; i.e. simple checks to guarantee that the child and parent e-mail are the same or anything ajaxy and simple like that are not in place. Not that it would matter much anyway because the parent e-mail is simply not used for anything; never a mailer, nothing. I'd be surprised to learn that they were actually storing the e-mail. The signup validation check goes straight to the child's e-mail address. Thus I was allowed to sign up as a "genderqueer" 9 year old (actual choice) and immediately activate my site access for chat rooms and the like while receiving automated monthly alerts.
The alerts themselves are another subject of great joy. Want to know about proper circle jerk etiquette, need abortion advice or want to join the Answer effort to bring more liberal Sex Ed programs to your school? Sex ETC is there to answer that call.
So what's my problem? The target audience for one, sponsorship by Democrats in Congress for another and the new effort to subvert parental authority by soliciting children to basically get more sexually active (and not feel guilty about it); especially if your parents advocate abstinence.
The site is much more than just a site about teaching teens about sex, it is an advocacy group that is part of a bigger network that includes pro-abortion interests. Perhaps some parents would not be so enamored to learn that their children are reading the Sex ETC article Not Ashamed to Say It: I Had an Abortion. The article was not written by a teen but it definitely was directed to your teen and pre-teen daughters. The article by self proclaimed feminist Jordan Conn, 22, is an extension of the MS. Magazine We Had Abortions campaign and follows in the heels of the planned parenthood "I Had an Abortion" t-shirt campaign.
Note the typical liberal scare tactics being used by Conn to convince your child or grandchild that abortion is nothing more than a set of bad feelings with perhaps some temporary pain. When reading the block quote pay particular attention when Conn talks about not being able to finish school because of this inconvenient "fetus", that she is talking about college and that the "fetus" is really a baby. (side note: "baby" is a word that is never applied by activists when whitewashing the facts about abortion. Much better to stick to fetus. All emphasis mine.)
Having an abortion was not an easy decision or a painless process. I had feelings of guilt, depression and shame. I felt a connection with the fetus—this being that was causing me morning sickness. This made the decision hard. Abortion was no longer an abstract political idea but a real option in response to my pregnancy. Even though it was a hard decision, I decided that an abortion would be the best option for me. Having a child would have made it hard for me to finish school, and I wasn’t ready to give up my dreams. And I wasn’t ready to be a mother at 20 years old.
My parents were involved in the decision. They were worried about how badly I felt about myself. During a phone conversation, my mom said, “Jordan, you had sex, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sex is a beautiful thing that I did not raise you to be ashamed of.” I did not feel ashamed about having sex; I felt ashamed about the abortion I knew I was probably going to have. “It’s your body,” my mom said, “and you are the only one who gets to say what happens to it. Don’t let other people’s ideas make you feel bad about yourself.” I never again felt guilty about having an abortion, although I sometimes feel grief for the child I didn’t have.
Why Take Action for Choice?
Since having the abortion, I’ve interned for the Feminist Majority Foundation, gone to conferences and protests and become a full-fledged activist. Some people think that the right to a safe abortion isn’t an issue we have to worry about. It is legal to have an abortion, so what am I fighting for? My father asked me why I’ve become such an activist for choice. Surely not all people who have an abortion become activists.
I became an activist because of the new restrictions on abortion and new Supreme Court justices that are openly against abortion who could reverse Roe v. Wade—the landmark case that made abortion legal. There are states that are limiting women’s access to abortion. In some places, women have to be over 18 to have one or go before a court and have a judge rule about what goes on in their bodies. Some states only allow abortion for women whose lives are in danger or in cases of rape and incest.
Even though abortion is “legal,” it’s not available to everyone. Mississippi, for example, only has one abortion clinic, making access to abortion impossible for poor women who cannot afford to travel across the state for two consultations. Also, repeated arsons, attempted murders and picketing of clinics make abortion dangerous and force some clinics to close. The increasing limitations on abortion are undeniable, and many people are activists simply because of those facts.
The site does give advice on abstinence and actually permits some non-anti abstinence messages to leak out. But don't let that fool you, the site editors are clearly on the side of pitting themselves against abstinence advice as evidenced in this youTube interview with Congressman Henry Waxman simply titled Comprehensive Sex Ed vs Abstinence Only. Why are they against abstinence only programs? Because as the teen experts say in the video, "they are misleading, give false information and leave many questions unanswered". How's that for a broad brush attack by "objective" teens that are tasked to educate your children about sex?
The real problem with this site is that it is mainstreamed, heavily networked with groups that have messages that differ with many parents and are designed to take the parent out of the equation. Finally they are working with your government and already in your schools by recruiting liberally minded sexually active teens to petition for the Sex Etc. preferred sex ed programs. See The Roadmap: A Teen Guide to Changing Your School's Sex Ed if you don't believe me.
Rutgers Answer, their Sex ETC distribution site and various advocacy interests are working 24x7 against parental involvement, and now Fox TV is getting that message out. Why? In this respect they are no different than drug dealers and pushers except the drug in this case is a liberalized form of sex education for children. Parents need not attend.
Terry Trippany is the Editor and Publisher of Webloggin.