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Big Government and Girls’ Health

The Nanny State has reached a whole new level online, and many of its websites are directed at our kids. They come from every government agency imaginable: ATF, CDC, FDA, FEMA, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security Administration, Federal Trade Commission, and even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (You can find a full list here.)

My favorite is Girls’ Health, a website for girls aged 10 to 16. (There’s no Boys’ Health, mind you. Only girls get their very own special website compliments of Big Gov.)

The website covers everything from the body, fitness, nutrition, drugs, relationships, bullying, the environment, and feelings.

I assumed these were already being taught in government schools where teachers can at least add a level of personal accountability, but the state doesn’t seem to be satisfied with leaving this kind of teaching to schools—or parents, where it ultimately belongs.

In the section called “Body,” Big Gov addresses issues like puberty, menstruation, sleep, general health, and, of course, sex and birth control. Here’s their advice to young girls about dating and sexual feelings:

Starting to date, thinking about romance, and feeling attraction all can be incredibly cool — and a little overwhelming. As you start thinking about love and sex, don’t forget to focus on feeling good about yourself. Take good care of your body. If you have questions, talk to your parent or guardian, doctor, or another trusted adult. And don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. You’ll probably remember these exciting days for many years to come, and you want to remember them happily!

As you start dating, think about what you’re looking for. A solid relationship starts with being with someone who supports you, trusts you, and appreciates you for who you really are. You want someone who deserves you!

From dating, the discussion, of course, turns to sex:

For teens, not having sex—abstinence—makes good sense. That’s partly because your chances of staying safe from unplanned pregnancy and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are better if you wait. It’s also partly because being older can help you handle the strong emotional aspects of sex. Just because your body seems ready doesn’t mean that you are!

When people say “sex,” they usually mean sexual intercourse, or a man putting his penis in a woman’s vagina. But even if you don’t have sex and are thinking about other types of sexual contact, like touching your partner’s genitals, you want to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. These are very personal acts and are worth thinking about in a serious way. Also keep in mind that it is possible to get pregnant if a boy ejaculates (“comes”) on the outside of your vagina. And remember that you can get some STIs from oral sex or from genital-to-genital contact that isn’t intercourse. Above all, don’t do anything sexual that doesn’t feel right to you.

Wow, how did I make it through life without the government? That conversation I had with my mom on a sunny summer day in 1977 after I saw two lizards on top of each other sure seems inadequate! How did I make it through middle school without hearing from Big Gov that “it is possible to get pregnant if a boy ejaculates (‘comes’) on the outside of your vagina”?

Big Gov goes on to say, “You may get lots of messages about sex, everything from intense music lyrics to strict religious rules. Here’s what some young people are saying about waiting, staying safe, and respecting their bodies.” (So the government is lumping religion in with lyrics and urging girls to basically trust what other girls are saying. Now that makes sense!)

Of course, the messaging wouldn’t be complete without a discussion on birth control:

Anyone you’re seriously thinking about having sex with should be someone you can talk to about it. Talk about what kind of birth control you would use to protect yourselves from pregnancy and STIs. Talk about respecting each other’s feelings and not feeling pressured. It’s a good idea to talk about these things at a time and in a place where you’re comfortable and won’t be interrupted. And it’s a great idea to do this while your clothes are still on!

Some people feel like once they’ve had sex there’s no turning back. That’s not true. You don’t have to feel bad about yourself if you regret having sex. Everybody makes mistakes — that’s just part of learning. But it doesn’t make sense to keep doing something that feels wrong to you.

Finally, homosexuality is addressed:

If you’re having feelings of romantic or physical attraction to other girls, you may wonder about your sexual orientation. It’s natural as you develop to wonder about these feelings, and it may take time to figure out your sexual orientation. Also, having a gay or lesbian parent or sibling doesn’t mean you are gay.

If you’re feeling concerned about your sexual orientation, talk to someone you trust. Also, if you’re feeling stressed about telling others you’re gay or if you’re being bullied about being gay, you can get help. If you feel like you are going to hurt yourself, reach out right away to an adult, a friend you trust, or a counselor. Things can get better.

If you are going to have sex with another girl, keep in mind that women who have sex with women are at risk for many of the same STIs as women who have sex with men. Also, if you are a lesbian, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about protecting your overall health. Lesbians are more likely to have certain health problems, like obesity, smoking, and depression, so make sure you learn how to stay healthy and strong.

I’m sure there are some out there that say many girls don’t have parents they can talk to, that they need big government to step in and teach stuff like this. And yet, there have always been girls who didn’t have parents they could talk to. Who did they turn to? They learned from relatives, parents of friends, teachers, doctors, and, yes, even the church.

The point is that the government has no business instructing girls on these kinds of issues. It is devoid of a moral context and relational support. And it is just one more example of how big the government has gotten and how it has morphed into a living presence hell-bent on refashioning citizens in its own image.