Illustration: Jed Morfit


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

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate