Illustration: Jed Morfit

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Thanks to a well-publicized congressional investigation, we now know that federally funded abstinence curricula are riddled with scientific errors, half-truths, and outright lies. So what are students and taxpayers getting for $170 million a year? If the following lessons are any indication, overwrought metaphors, laughable lists, and a lesson in Russian roulette.

 

“Hold up a beautiful rose. Talk about the petals and how they add color and fragrance to the rose. Hand the rose to a student, telling that student to pull off a petal and pass it on to another student who also pulls off a petal. Continue passing the rose around until there are no more petals. At the end, hold up the rose. Ask: Of what value is the rose now?… The rose represents someone who participates in casual sex.”
Choosing the Best PATH

 

“No matter how strong a condom is, it won’t protect you from a broken heart.”
A.C. Green’s Game Plan

 

“The first player spins the cylinder, points the gun to his/her head, and pulls the trigger. He/she has only a one in six chance of being killed. But if one continues to perform this act, the chamber with the bullet will ultimately fall into position, and the game ends as one of the players dies. Relying on condoms is like playing Russian roulette.”
Me, My World, My Future

 

“Watch what you wear, if you don’t aim to please, don’t aim to tease.”
Sex Respect

 

“Infertility, isolation, jealousy, poverty, heartbreak, substance abuse, AIDS, pregnancy, cervical cancer, genital herpes, unstable long-term commitments, depression, embarrassment, meaningless wedding, sexual violence, personal disappointment, suicide, feelings of being used, loss of honesty, loneliness, loss of personal goals, distrust of others, pelvic inflammatory disease, loss of reputation, fear of pregnancy, disappointed parents, loss of self-esteem, leaving high school before graduation…. ALL of them can be eliminated by being abstinent until marriage.”
Choosing the Best PATH

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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