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Author Topic: Child targeted political speech
LetterRip
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The thread on anti-abortion groups showing gruesome abortion related photos outside of grade schools inspired this thread.

Is it appropriate and should it be legal to target speech of commercial or political nature to children?

I had a few different scenarios in mind - showing anti-abortion ads using the images depicted at the protest mentioned above during saturday morning cartoons or other 'kid targeted' tv times. (Not sure what the equivalent 'pro-choice' extremist ad would consist of -perhaps an ad of being forced to give birth to a fetus that should have been aborted) Or ads targeted against particular political organizations or supporters - ie anti-Democrat/Republican, against unions, gun supporters, anti-war, etc.

LetterRip

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LoverOfJoy
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Pretty much all cartoons are ads of a commercial nature. Some are even of a political nature. Captain Planet? [Eek!]
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Adam Masterman
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Off the top of my head:

In general, we seem to be moving (as a society) towards the idea that government should be the guardians of children's media content. As much as is possible, I believe that this should be a parents choice, as well as a parents responsibility. Insofar as parents need the cooperation of media outlets, I think they should apply pressure directly as consumers, rather than through government.

This position, I believe, allows for people to make their own choices about child rearing, whereas government will of necessity impose a uniform decision. Some parents may want their child to be exposed to political speech, whereas others may not. Each should have the right to choose.

Adam

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Adam -

Well said.

--Firedrake

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Funean
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An equivalent "pro-choice" ad might be abused children, or children living in dire circumstances, or (better yet) adopted by scheming child-slavery rings (just trying to match the dismembered-baby timbre).

For many years, advertising to children has been regulated, in terms of what kinds of commercials can be shown, and how many per unit of programming. I believe that broadcasters must also provide a certain amount of "educational" (FSVO educational) programming as well.

There are two issues here--one of targeting children on purpose, and the other of incidentally exposing children to adult-geared materials. I don't know which the scenario I described in the other thread is, but I suspect the latter as there aren't that many purely public spaces in our town (other than sidewalks). If they don't want to run afoul of private property owners or interfere with unrelated commerce they have a relatively limited number of spots to stand.

I have less trouble with restricting direct appeals to children than I do with regulating what children may incidentally be exposed to; that seems much more fraught with potential violations of freedom of speech/assembly.

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Funean
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Adam: I agree. But how do I choose to protect my children from gory pictures if they're being walked around my town, including to the park where my son's last class (first grade) outing was?
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Richard Dey
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The answer is yes. What kid hasn't seen road kill? At what point do you tell the kid with the cap pistol and Darth Vader sword that he may grow up to kill people to protect his moom?

The problem is that we allow our kids to have 'killer' toys without explaining to them that these are training wheels to the tanks of war.

If mom doesn't want her kids to experience reality, move to fantasy; but don't expect any lack of resistance when mom's idea of fantasy interferes with the reality that she disapproves of.

You know the joke, what does the prostitute do on take your daughter to work day? or maybe the proctologist [Wink] .

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LetterRip
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Instead of trying to find a pro-choice examle, how about a hypothetical anti-war ad - ie showing things like beheadings, abu-ghraib abuse photos, or dismembered children and bodies. (Bah, some part of me just started creating a mental composition of such an ad - and then added the 'war - what is it good .for' song). Those are similarly grisly, similar level of political speech about which people feel strongly, uses powerful imagery and emotional reaction to drive the response, and something which I think it is probably inappropriate to expose a grade schooler to.

Adam,

quote:
In general, we seem to be moving (as a society) towards the idea that government should be the guardians of children's media content.
Can you give examples? I've seen attempts to force non child targeted media to be 'more child safe', ie the internet and pornography, Janet Jacksons wardrobe malfuction, howard stern, etc. but I'm not seen much of what you claim is happening.

quote:
As much as is possible, I believe that this should be a parents choice, as well as a parents responsibility. Insofar as parents need the cooperation of media outlets, I think they should apply pressure directly as consumers, rather than through government.
Broadcast television is an oligopoly with high barriers to entry, therefore market forces and feedbacks are drastically distorted. Also the viewer is not the consumer, they are the product. The consumer is advertisers. The public can only indirectly pressure. (Ie 'we will complain to political and/or regulatory bodies about you; we will tell people not to watch your show which could lower your ratings and make you less attractive to advertisers; we will tell advertisers not to advertise with you).

quote:
This position, I believe, allows for people to make their own choices about child rearing, whereas government will of necessity impose a uniform decision. Some parents may want their child to be exposed to political speech, whereas others may not. Each should have the right to choose.
Hmmm how would preventing such advertisements during child targeted programs affect whether a parent could expose their child to political speech. There is a huge amount of political speech available so preventing it from a particular venue wouldn't impact such an ability.

Also advertising is not rated so things like the v-chip cannot be used to filter it (is news v-chip rated either? are network ads rated?). Advertising is not pre-knowable so essentially any medium which allows advertising would require recording the entire item in advance and fully prescreen it.

I think there is a large difference between restrictions on what is shown during periods on non child targeted viewing, versus what is done on time and channels specifically targeted at children.

Richard,

quote:
If mom doesn't want her kids to experience reality, move to fantasy
Rape and torture are also 'reality' it doesn't mean that it should be regular child viewing material.

LetterRip

[ March 20, 2006, 02:19 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Tezcatlipoca
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An interesting picture I remember that is related to the topic.
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Funean
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That's perfect, Texcatlipoca! Also something I wouldn't want my six year old given.

Extremists at the opposite ends of issues have far more in common with each other than they do with moderates purportedly on their side of the issue.

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Richard Dey
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LR:

On the other hand, a child ought to be taught that there are wolves in the forest -- and they eat babies.

Lo, where has the good ol' 17th century gone [Wink] when reality was under foot, overhead, and in one's face [Roll Eyes] . We've got moms and daddums playing house -- pretending that children are dolls and puppets. That's one reason I so disapprove of Sesame Street. In trying to make the world friendly to kids, we think we can wish the danger of life away with rules, regulations, ordinances, laws, and fiat. It can't be done.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
But how do I choose to protect my children from gory pictures if they're being walked around my town, including to the park where my son's last class (first grade) outing was?
Well, thats a fine line, for sure. If its a one time thing, I say the teacher should find something else for the kids to do that day. If its ongoing, then the town needs to work out some kind of compromise for the use of public spaces.

Adam

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Pete at Home
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I'm OK with making it illegal to target kids with gory and pornographic images. It's not asking too much for a few pro-lifers to become literate. But when we're talking about a major political issue that's splitting the country, I don't think you can legitimately make laws that "protect kids" from being targeted for direct political appeals, so long as they don't occur within protected areas, so long as they don't violate obscenity laws, etc.

It would be nice to give parents an escape route -- try to make it possible for parents to bypass the protest with their kids, if they take the effort. If that were possible, and if the protest tried to close the route, so that you could not escape their stuff ... at that point it starts to smell like harassment to me.

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Funean
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Adam, this guy and his merry band just kinda wander around at will, shouting at people about one thing or another (he's Angry about a number of things, it seems). There's no schedule, nor do they alert the media that they're having a protest on such-and-such a day. As I mentioned in the other thread, he's the local Crazy Angry Guy.

Richard, I can teach my kids that there are wolves in the forest without taking them to the forest and leaving them there overnight to see for themselves (and of course rushing in to save them Just In The Nick of Time, but *after* the rabid, mangy dogs slaver all over them).

Edited to add, because Pete posted while I was writing this:

Pete, I tend to agree. I honestly don't care that much about political or values messages targeting my child. I'd prefer, of course, to know that they're happening so I have the opportunity to put my two cents or, if I disagree violently enough (KKK, etc), remove my child from regular exposure to the message. What I do care about is images that are so frightening or adult as to be outside my young children's ability to understand them or put them in any useful context other than "scary" and "awful."

[ March 20, 2006, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: Funean ]

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LetterRip
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Funean,

quote:
Pete, I tend to agree. I honestly don't care that much about political or values messages targeting my child. I'd prefer, of course, to know that they're happening so I have the opportunity to put my two cents or, if I disagree violently enough (KKK, etc), remove my child from regular exposure to the message. What I do care about is images that are so frightening or adult as to be outside my young children's ability to understand them or put them in any useful context other than "scary" and "awful."
Well stated.

Tez,

thanks for the example - it is a leaflet - can be found here,

http://www.furisdead.com/pdfs/mommykills.pdf

It is an even stronger parallel than I thought to the street protestors of Funeans,

quote:
PETA activists - including cuddly, costumed raccoons and foxes - are making guest appearances outside performances of The Nutcracker across the country this holiday season with a cheeky message of compassion. As children arrive to see the "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy," some will be unaware that their mothers are already starring in a real-life horror story! PETA will be there to greet any fur-clad moms and their children with their newest anti-fur leaflet-PETA Comics presents..."Your Mommy Kills Animals!"

Kids will see the bloody truth behind their moms’ pretentious pelts. Accompanied by graphic photographs of skinned carcasses and animals languishing on fur farms, children will read: "Lots of wonderful foxes, raccoons, and other animals are kept by mean farmers who squish them into cages so small that they can hardly move. They never get to play or swim or have fun. All they can do is cry-just so your greedy mommy can have that fur coat to show off in when she walks the streets."

http://www.furisdead.com/feat-momfur.asp

From a different Peta site is petakids comics,

http://www.petakids.com/comics.asp

which are not bad (well glanced through the cow one...)

LetterRip

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javelin
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Tell you what, that video by McCartney is hella effective. I feel like crap. Thank god I've never used fur, but damn...
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Pete at Home
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Deliberately pitting children against parents like that goes beyond a message. Those PETA signs are more analogous to some pro-life group went out with signs saying, did "you know your mommy asked a doctor to kill your baby sister."

Offenses like that make me so mad that it's hard to even conceive of a law to stop such a horror without writing it too broadly.

But if we have laws that protect contract partners from outsiders that try to alienate them from their contract, that we could enact narrow laws against that sort of emotional kidnapping.

quote:
"Lots of wonderful foxes, raccoons, and other animals are kept by mean farmers who squish them into cages so small that they can hardly move. They never get to play or swim or have fun. All they can do is cry-
So far protected, I think.

quote:
just so your greedy mommy can have that fur coat to show off in when she walks the streets."
Stalinistic.

I'd love to think of a way to make this actionable. This one is a LONG shot:

Since this leaflet targets small children, we can assume that the publisher knows that each child will read the leaflet as if it was written to that child.

In that light, a mom that doesn't even wear furs, or that wears artificial furs, might sue PETA, since it conveyed a defamatory falsehood about the mother to her child. It would be difficult to prove damages, though, since "greedy" and "callous towards animals" aren't accusations that are considered defammatory per se.

(That theory wouldn't work for a false light claim, because only the child would read the flyer as pertaining to one particular mom; the flyer wouldn't create bad "publicity" for the mom.)

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Pelegius
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Absolutely, children should be exposed from an early age to political and commercial opinions. Their parents and teachers should also explain to them that not everything they hear or see is true. I believe, although I am neither a parent nor yet a teacher, that children will develop their own opinions as long as they are shown different viewpoints, which is much better than them believing that everything their parents believe is right (or the opposite, although that usually happens naturally as teenagers [Smile] )
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ngthagg
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An interesting sidenote: we've had two elections recently in Canada, and a popular campaign stop for leaders is schools, both elementary and high school. I never had such a visit when I was in school, so I really have no idea what they talk about when they are there, but it's about as direct an exposure to politics as you can get.

A sidenote to a sidenote: Paul Martin (former Liberal leader) visited a high school and was posed this question: Why is it that teenagers have to pay taxes when they the work, but aren't allowed to vote? I thought it was the best question asked during the entire campaign.

ngthagg

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Paul Martin (former Liberal leader) visited a high school and was posed this question: Why is it that teenagers have to pay taxes when they the work, but aren't allowed to vote?
Out of curiosity, how did he answer?
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Richard Dey
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ngthagg:

a cite on that could be very useful. I presume that the taxes are 'theoretically' paid by the guardian ???

Fun:

My argument, Fun, is that my rights as an adult should not be compromised by the inadequacies of parents -- and they have been.

One answer to the problem -- which IMHO is the least-bit manufactured since they see people killed on TV all the time -- is to send your kids to private school. Then the vulgar twits can be arrested for trespassing on private property, and restraining orders can be imposed.

There's a private school in Boston where the 5th graders are writing notes of condolence to the wives and parents of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. What age is too early to explain to kids that they're going to grow up to be expendable?

That has long been a problem between the raising of girls and the raising of boys -- and, until things are changed, a reason why bring them up in the same schools is dysfunctional.

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RoseAuthor
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Richard: since you're often selling private schooling, I was wondering if you are in support of the voucher proposal?

There is a double standard I'm witnessing when it come to freedom of speech. It's ok for planned parenthood to spew forth their ideas on sex and abortion in public schools but it's not ok to show the results of sex and abortion. How do you teach one without giving all the information? Yes, I think showing a late term abortion to a child under the age of 12 is generally inappropriate and I would have been upset if it were allowed in our school. (As it is, I chose to live in a conservative small town!)

However, if a child is being taught that sexual permiscuity is 'natural' and accepted in sex ed, they should be given ALL the information on the development of the fetus, the abortion procedure, and the emotional problems following said abortion and offered couciling if they are having issues post abortion. And Teach all possible outcomes; pictures of herpes, HIV sufferers, general STD results. To include the human papaloma virus (genital warts, cervical cancer).

Teach it all and remove the patchworking of the constitution. Limiting data is eliminating a true informed choice.

And to be honest, I am actually going to agree with Richard (someone stop me please!!!). You cannot protect your kids from every bad thing. Your kids will get ahold of inappropriate material and situations. Sit down and talk to them about it on a level they can understand, comfort them, guide them and in the end, they'll move on.

After 9/11 children were living in fear. But with good parenting and time, things tend to work itself out and your children are all the wiser. It's not saying expose them to every evil, it's simply knowing you can't always shelter them from harm. You patch the wound and move on.

Example: You and your mate are having sex; Child walks in: If you over react, the child will be upset and remember. If you calmly respond, the child will tend to forget and go back to bed peacefully.

Maybe it's my old age, or raising 5 kids... but you'll make yourself crazy and start eating prozac like m&m's if you stress over things that will eventually pass.

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Pete at Home
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"And to be honest, I am actually going to agree with Richard (someone stop me please!!!). You cannot protect your kids from every bad thing. Your kids will get ahold of inappropriate material and situations. Sit down and talk to them about it on a level they can understand, comfort them, guide them and in the end, they'll move on."

I live in Vegas. Ads for prostitution hit us in the face everywhere. If you were me, what words would you use to describe prostitution to my 5 year old son?

With my 8 year old, I said that the ads were like the sirens in the movie Sinbad, and that if I looked at them I could drive off the road and smash like the ships in sinbad. That started a flood of questions. I explained that some men were lonely, and liked to pretend that someone cared about them, but that the whores just wanted the men's money, and that men that went with them sometimes ruined their families and their lives. I told him that I try not to look at the pictures because I don't want to even think about them. I didn't put it more dramatically than that. It was all literally true -- hell, my wife thought I'd understated it.

He was traumatized for months about it. Not content to look away, he'd bend down in the carseat and repeat "I'm not looking" when we passed them. He'd ask questions about the whores, why they wanted to destroy people, etc. I said they just want money. They don't care. And it's better not to think about them.

I should have known that telling someone not to think about X is the best way to make them think about X. Finally I said, just look somewhere else and talk about something else. Now whenever we pass one of the whoresigns he starts a conversation about scooby doo or something like that. Big improvement. But I think I gave him too much info.

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Funean
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Oh, I assure you that I neither wish to nor believe I can protect my children from every bad thing out there. Who was it that said "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement?" [Big Grin] I just don't like having to worry about really bizarre things, like crazy screaming people with pictures of gore in the Borough Hall parking lot where I pay my parking tickets.

With regard to LR's topic, RoseAuthor's comments made me realize the one thing I *do* find objectionable about political/commercial speech that targets children: it is generally one-sided. That is to say, that a political or commercial message exists for one reason; to sell a particular point of view (or product). Alternatives are either not given or are presented in a distorted or slanted fashion.

I should think that most parents would want presentations made to their children be both even-handed and accurate, or to have the opportunity to fill their child in on the "rest of the story." Adults have the capacity to think "Hmm, maybe there's another side to this story" and "I'm not sure chewing this gum will REALLY make me wealthy and appealing to the opposite sex," but young kids do not.

So, LR, I guess my conclusion is that I don't have a problem with such messages targeting young children, provided that they are age-appropriate and that there is some mechanism for seeing that the children get the full picture, either by presenting both sides or by giving parents notification about what will be presented so that they can either fill in the blanks or remove their child from the exposure to the message.

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RoseAuthor
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You're killing my faith in you Richard! *wink*

You went overboard. Word choice is everything! You could have easily said, "those are naked women. They use their nakedness to make money because SOME men will give them money. We are not those type of guys. We respect ourselves and women, so it's not a big deal to us."

As they got older, you'll communicate differently for their age. By the age of 10, they will understand the enticement and the conversation will expand. However, you can easily explain how advertisement works on simple things like toys. (like the advertisment to a toy commerical). They are selling a product. (I know you're smart enough to do this with sensitivity and without extremisms!!!!)

Funean and LR: I wasn't meaning insult to either of you. I was trying to give the benefit of experience only. Perhaps I'm an old spirit. But I knew not to stress over most things because the children will absorb the stress more than they pick up the originating situation.

We made choices based off our morality more than we made choices based off of finances. We sacrificed financially because we chose a more conservative lifestyle. In the end, we have 4 adult children who are driven by responsibility, honor, and yes, they've made errors! In the end, they have made good choices based off of adequate information. They knew how to research if they had questions on anything. Information isn't a bad thing! They were taught to teach themselves.. not just to memorize school data!

On a personal note: I don't think any adult should approach a minor! EVER! But I still believe in the constitution which is being eroded. There are evils in the world, there are things we don't agree with, but in the end, if you build a good communication with your children, they will take that with them into adulthood..

OK.. Gotta use the bible on this one: "Raise your children in the way they should go; when they are old they will not stray." (IT didn't say they wouldn't screw up before they're old!!) [Big Grin]

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Pete at Home
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"They use their nakedness to make money because SOME men will give them money."

He would have asked, "how do they use their nakedness to make money?" He would have been VERY interested in that for several weeks.

Word choice? Oh, I didn't use the word "whore" with him. That was a paraphrase.

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RoseAuthor
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Correction:

"You're killing my faith in you Richard! *wink*"

should have been PETE not Richard! OOPS brain cramp

And I GAWD I'm glad you didn't really use that wordage! [Smile]

Pete: you're just going to be challenged with your kids! They're probably too much like you! (the world should be in fear! [Big Grin] )

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LetterRip
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RoseAuthor,

wasn't offended, but I haven't had time to read this yet,

quote:
re is a double standard I'm witnessing when it come to freedom of speech. It's ok for planned parenthood to spew forth their ideas on sex and abortion in public schools but it's not ok to show the results of sex and abortion.
Not sure where your perception of a double standard is coming from. As far as I'm aware planned parenthood doesn't have any more or less access to schools than other institutions.

quote:
How do you teach one without giving all the information?
Hmm well we don't show videos of soldiers torturing or people slowly dying from war wounds when we cover war. The details of starvation isn't covered when we talk about famines, etc. I'm curious as to your knowledge of what is actually taught in a health class that leads you to the belief of a 'double standard'.

quote:
However, if a child is being taught that sexual permiscuity is 'natural' and accepted in sex ed, they should be given ALL the information on the development of the fetus, the abortion procedure, and the emotional problems following said abortion and offered couciling if they are having issues post abortion. And Teach all possible outcomes; pictures of herpes, HIV sufferers, general STD results. To include the human papaloma virus (genital warts, cervical cancer).
I think you have a seriously flawed information on what is taught in a health class.

Also,

quote:
the emotional problems following said abortion
What if the research shows for instance,

quote:
Research studies indicate that emotional responses to legally induced abortion are largely positive. They also indicate that emotional problems resulting from abortion are rare and less frequent than those following childbirth (Adler, 1989).
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/files/portal/medicalinfo/abortion/fact-010600-emoteff.xml

quote:
Teach it all and remove the patchworking of the constitution. Limiting data is eliminating a true informed choice.
Teach it all is of course impossible unless you want that to be their only course. Have a look at health ciriculums. You seem to have a really distorted perspective on what schools and textbooks actually teach.

http://www.bcsc.k12.in.us/northsidems/health/page2.html
http://www.scasd.org/2497_3864162414/blank/browse.asp?A=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&C=48271

quote:
You cannot protect your kids from every bad thing.
Noone claimed one could. That was never the intent.

LetterRip

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RoseAuthor
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LR: I think you misunderstood what I was trying to convey when I talked about freedom of speech (perhaps I was a bit disjointed.)

Freedom of speech (not being limited to sex education in public school but generally speaking) The original post was about late term abortion material being distributed to minor children, which is a form of freedom of speech. These people have a constitutional right to distribute. And although I find it inappropriate, it is constitutionally protected speech. We can't pick and choose or patchwork the constitution because someone doesn't like a particular speech or expression.

As for the sex ed: I've been a teacher, my sister is a teacher/coach. Both of us have lived/taught, generally, in conservative towns, cities.

I read over a few of the links you provided: It's generally correct in it's curriculum: However, in practice, the class is far from what you're viewing in writing. Each school has an internal review of the curriculum and alterations based upon what the board finds acceptable material and discourse. By the time it gets into the classroom, it's so watered down, fragmented and generally the most that kids get from the class is understanding, generally, how the reproductive system works.

However, since you posed the question, I decided to consult with a few ex-peers on the subject. (which is why I've taken so long to respond). They, in turn, queried students on how they perceive sex ed. Not one kid said it was a useful class or even considered it adequate. In other words; nothing has changed since I've been in the schools.

As for trauma following abortion: Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, (PASS), http://afterabortion.com/ However, I'm sure you'll google it. [Smile]

And you're wrong: Planned parenthood is generally allowed into the schools whereas controversial groups, (usually religious based), who speak on abstinence, right to life, are not allowed in the schools without a legal battle.

I'm not saying sex ed is completely useless. The point was: We send our kids to sex ed, which only gives limited information (the planned parenthood's form of education) and it's accepted. However, when kids are given more data which we find uncomfortable (late term abortion pictures), we want to limit freedom of speech? That's patch working the constitution.

Clarifying: I think this crass material should not have been given to any child under the age of 12 or without parental consent. I find it to be in poor taste and disrespectful on the distributors part. Likewise, I think a parent who over-reacts, only embeds this further in the child's mind/memory.

The war/torture/famine: it's a completely different subject. But to summarize: No, we can't teach everything under the sun, it's not needed, and/or it's generally not directly affecting our children's needs for informed choice for their health and safety. But that's just another thread.

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Pete at Home
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LR, Short-term emotions don't necessarily say much about long term emotional health. Many traumatized soldiers remain functional in the field but fall apart later. My understanding that women who gave their baby up for adoption, tested 2 years later happier and better adjusted than women who had abortions.

[Obviously those stats could changed if we instituted laws that coerced women to give babies up -- I suspect free will is in play here. But I do think that we should give informed choices, and that the state should have power and interest to encourage women to carry the child and give the child up for adoption]


Some might also take into account the different effect of abortion v. childbirth on the child.

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LetterRip
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I wasn't arguing that PP's claim is the end word on the subject just that it was quite possible that the facts opposed what you felt ought to be taught.

I'm familiar with PTSD - PAS/PASS - to my knowledge their is not research supporting the claim of a PASS, instead that longitudinal studies suggest their is no PASS.

Not exactly an unbiased source on the issue, but they quote some of the relevant material...

http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/post_abortion_issues.html

quote:
And you're wrong: Planned parenthood is generally allowed into the schools whereas controversial groups, (usually religious based), who speak on abstinence, right to life, are not allowed in the schools without a legal battle.
Could you provide sources for this? As far as legal battles, that is the ultimate 'help I'm being oppressed' that lawyers for Christian groups long for, thus the odds of it being correct I suspect are very small.

LetterRip

[ March 24, 2006, 05:18 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Pete at Home
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Really, LR, any group touting that "anti-choice" rhetoric is hardly less biased and serious observer than the pro-lifers. And I didn't see any stats comparing health/hapipiness issues long term between abortion recipients and those who gave birth and adopted out.
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