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Monday, January 30, 2006

What’s the Matter with Kansas?

Posted by on January 30 at 15:31 PM


Once again—hello, straight people? The Right’s war on sexual freedom isn’t just about taking down gay sex and abortion. They want to criminalize sex, period, not just gay sex. From today’s Kansas City Star:

Kansas AG lauds teen-sex ruling

Bolstered by an appellate court ruling, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline on Saturday said he would demand anew that all health professionals report cases of underage sexual activity.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a federal district judge’s order that had blocked the state from enforcing a law requiring reports of consensual sexual activity among children under 16…. “These laws are important tools to bring child rapists to justice,ā€¯ Kline said.

An attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which had obtained the initial court order, said the new ruling will not take effect for at least two weeks. Also, a trial focusing on another part of the legal challenge to the reporting requirements is scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in Wichita.

“The gravest concern is that a lack of confidentiality will drive adolescents away from health care they need,ā€¯ said Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney with the center, a nonprofit organization that is active in abortion and reproductive health-care laws and policies.

The legal dispute over reporting requirements stems from an opinion that Kline issued in 2003 about a 1982 state law. Kline said that doctors, nurses, social workers and other licensed professionals are required to report cases of sexual activity involving an adolescent under 16, even if it was consensual activity between two persons of about the same age.

Sexual contact with or among children under 16 is against the law in Kansas. Kline contends that even consensual sex is harmful to children.

This is so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin. Suppose a 15 year-old contracts a sexually transmitted disease from, say, another 15 year-old—are they going to seek treatment if they fear being reported? Or arrested? What sexually active teenager will confide in a therapist in Kansas? What about high school seniors, age 17, dating high school sophomores, age 15? Arrest them too?

Some teenagers are sexually active, as much as it pains the right wingers, and they need access to birth control, condoms, and responsible adults who can help them access health care and good info. This is just nuts—nuts.

And, hey, my sex advice column runs in Kansas, and I occassionally from people under the age of 16 who are sexually active. Am I required to report them to the police now too?

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The "American Taliban" has never been a more apt description for the purveyors of this bullshit...

We are ALL required to report EVERYTHING we see to the police, Dan. Do your duty. Leave no stone unturned in exposing the evil that lies all around us. God demands obedience, and society depends on the diligence of tattle-tales. YOU MUST OBEY.

That appeal to stop child rapists is such bullshit. The real way to stop them is to encourage kids not to keep silent. On average, sex offenders who molest girls manage to molest a few dozen before they get caught. Offenders who molest boys manage to molest over a hundred before they're finally caught.

Right-wing Christians want everyone to be ashamed of sex, even kids who have been victims of sexual abuse. Do you think the Catholic Church would have been able to cover up decades of priest abuse if the victims and parents hadn't been too ashamed to go to the police?

I'm also curious to know what the cops think. What are they supposed to do with all this frankly kind of icky knowledge? When the phone rings and it's Doctor Watson saying "little Jimmy and Janet have been playing hide the hot dog", what's he supposed to say? "Thanks for calling?" Most cops have more important things to do.

I guess we'll have to set up an Office of Sexual Monitoring. I think we all know what kind of creep is going to be applying for THAT job.

Wait til the first reports of the Sexual Information Office calling little Timmy or Tina and telling them "I know something you don't want your mommy and daddy to know, now how would you like to help me keep that news secret?"

If they're too scared to talk, why would they feel free and dandy to get health care regarding an issue like that?

I hardly think they'd mention that "it burns" or admit to being sexually active (forced or no) if they were being molested.

Ah, Browslowskism.

I think the numbers will speak for themselves in five years. It's sad that people will have to suffer for this bullshit to pan itself out as bullshit, but that may be what we need for these sorts of 'we're in denial that teenagers have sex' laws to stop happening.

One conservative argument I've heard is: if they are so worried about being reported, they'll have one more reason to abstain from behaviour that may result in an STD, i.e. sex, in the first place.

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