Steve Doocy (Fox News)

Please teach sex ed in schools so that teens can tell Steve Doocy to shut up about birth control

Knowledge is power! Teaching kids about contraception means they can tune out airheads spouting misinformation


Katie McDonough
July 9, 2014 12:09AM (UTC)

There are so many good reasons to teach comprehensive sex education in schools. For one thing, it helps people make informed choices about their sex lives, and informed choices tend to be good choices. And talking about sex in a conversational but medically accurate way also helps young people feel more comfortable talking about sex with their families and partners. It's also better at reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among teens than abstinence-only programs. But a benefit of sex education that we rarely discuss is how it will empower teens (and the adults they grow up to become) to tell Fox News' Steve Doocy and other mush brains just like him to pipe down when they start in on medically inaccurate garbage tangents about birth control.

Tuesday morning on "Fox & Friends," Steve Doocy explained that he believed the "Hobby Lobby thing had nothing to do with banning birth control pills or anything like that," and that it "simply allowed employers who didn’t want to pay for drugs that end lives to not have to pay for them."

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While lots of young people don't watch Fox News, some of their parents do. And this is where sex education comes in. Let's just say that a hypothetical 15-year-old is hypothetically eating cereal while their mom is hypothetically watching "Fox & Friends." Now let's also say this hypothetical teen lives in one of the handful of states that actually require schools to teach medically accurate information about sex, birth control and basic reproductive anatomy.

Then, that teen could say this to her mom who is watching Steve Doocy spout misinformation on "Fox & Friends":

Hey, Mom, what Steve Doocy is saying right now is wrong! Totally wrong! I learned about these methods of contraception in school, and they are not the same thing as abortion-inducing drugs. I learned about those, too. The only method of contraception he's talking about that can act after fertilization is the copper IUD, but that's only when it's used as a form of emergency contraception, which is totally different than using it as a form of long-term birth control. Otherwise, every method of contraception he's talking about actually acts to prevent fertilization. So even if Hobby Lobby believes that a fertilized egg is a life, its objection to these methods of contraception doesn't even meet that minimum standard, except in cases when the copper IUD is used as emergency contraception, which is rare because of current cost barriers to access!

Then that teen could say something like, "Now can you please change the channel and never talk to me again so I can just sext my friends and read John Green and play the knockout game in peace?"

Only 22 states and the District of Columbia require that public schools teach sex education, and among that number, only 19 have laws ensuring that what’s being taught meets the minimum requirement of being medically or factually accurate. A recent survey among teenagers reveals that 41 percent know little or nothing about how condoms work, and a staggering 75 percent have almost no understanding of birth control.

It's frustrating to watch the same talking heads air the same misinformation over and over again on the news, but it's more frustrating (and frankly kind of scary) to realize that millions of young people in this country can't tell the difference because they don't know how birth control works.

Here's the video of Steve Doocy being very wrong about birth control:

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Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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