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Education Left Behind

To the Editor:

The recent article on the new textbook publishing in Texas [“The Education Censors,” March 24] has left many New Yorkers with a bad taste in their mouths. The idea of waiting till marriage and the practice of abstinence works; however, only to those who have a strict belief, and/or if it is of their own choosing. There are families who raise their children and promote the practice of “no sex” in the household, whether it be religion or moral values, but once those teenagers are out the door, it is no longer of the parents’ wanting. It is their own choice of what they do. Therein lies a fault in the “abstinence only” promotion.

The idea of Texan conservatives planning to omit the teaching of safe-sex practices, i.e., condoms and birth control, is not only an adolescent thought, but is putting us back in the 1960s where the basis of living was “out of sight, out of mind.” What we need to think about is whether we would rather have a sexually active teenager aware of contraceptives and how to use them properly, or a sexually active teenager having unprotected sex because they were not fully aware of their options.

If that’s the belief in Texas then, by all means, have that be their choosing. But what fears many of us here in New York is that structure of living will be brought to where we live and be declared mandatory.

Censorship through the government is becoming a tighter corset around each of our lives. With the ongoing struggle of being held back from our First Amendment rights of free speech and the right of knowledge, we have to ask ourselves, how far will it go? And what exactly did our ancestors fight so long and die for?

Jordyn Hagadorn


To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing Tom Hilliard’s article about sex-education-textbook censorship. This is an important issue that does not often receive the attention it deserves.

However, I would like to address one inaccuracy in the piece. Hilliard writes, “New York State has never endorsed the abstinence-only approach and probably never will.” While it is true that New York state does not require abstinence-only curricula, your readers should know that New York state spends approximately $10 million per year ($7.1 million from the federal government, and $2.6 million in matching funds from the state) for abstinence-only-until-marriage sex-education programs. Currently, there is no dedicated funding at the state or the federal level for comprehensive sex education—the type of sex education that has been proven the most effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

To combat this problem, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is working in coalition with Family Planning Advocates of New York State and over 100 community organizations to raise awareness about the issue of sex education, and to advocate for the passage of “The Healthy Teens Act” (A.6619 – Gottfried). This landmark legislation would establish a grant program for comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex-education programs in our public schools.

There is a lot of work to be done and we need help from the community. To join UHPP in the campaign for real sex education in New York State, please visit us on the Web at

Patricia A. McGeown

President/CEO, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood


Feeding-Tube Frenzy

To the Editor:

The article on the Terri Schiavo case [“Life Is Relative,” Newsfront, March 24] leads me to put my two cents in, as I’ve not heard anyone speak from the agnostic point of view. Do these religious people who opposed removing her feeding tube believe there is a heaven? Do they believe an all-American girl raised by such pious parents should be bound for heaven? If so, what’s the problem? This is part of a philosophical argument older than Christianity. One person will say there is a heaven and a person must have certain beliefs to get in. The other person will ask if this first person believes this, why not commit suicide now. The first will say because committing suicide is a sin. The second might ask if killing in war is a sin, if a general ordering people to their deaths is not a sin but if he commits suicide it is, etc.

If the taboo against committing suicide, assisted suicide, or turning off a feeding tube is lessened, than the power of the sin argument would be lessened. This is what drives religious people.

One of the things religious people ask agnostics is, “Has science answered all your questions?” Without science, Terri Schiavo would have been dead 15 years ago.

Jeff Hinkle


Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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