CBS Early Show Gives Planned Parenthood Star Treatment

CBS's Early Show gave actress Kate Walsh, who plays a doctor on TV, an unchallenged platform to link abstinence-only education to rising STD rates among teen girls.

Walsh, the sex kitten on the ABC series Private Practice, was on Capitol Hill March 27 to flack for Planned Parenthood.  Walsh said expecting kids to abstain from sex is “like asking them not to grow” or “not try out for sports” or “to stop learning.” Oh, and according to Ms. Walsh, parents can't be relied on either when it comes to sex education.

On this morning's Early Show, anchor Julie Chen interviewed the actress about her lobbying efforts and gave her a soapbox to parrot Planned Parenthood's talking points.  Walsh dutifully linked abstinence-only education to rising STD rates and spread the myth that most American teens don't have good information about sex.

CHEN: Tell us in your opinion what's wrong with the way we're teaching our kids in this country about sex education and what needs to be changed.

WALSH: Well, abstinence only is not working. It's a $1.5 billion program over the last ten years that has, quite frankly, failed. The CDC reported that one in five teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 are infected with STDs, and that, to me, is appalling and shameful. And in the age of information, these women are just not getting adequate information.

CHEN: So what do you want to see Congress do, and how much more money do you think we need to get there?

WALSH: I'm not sure -- I don't know exactly how much money, I just think where it's being appropriated, that there just needs -- in addition to abstinence, which is fine, there just needs to be a comprehensive sex education program, and we can't be relying on, you know, private foundations, or parents, or, you know, teens' peers, to be educating each other. We really do need government help on this. It's, you know, it's a shame to me that we spend money educating our kids on, you know, history, math, science, and English literature, and we -- we can't educate them sexually. And, you know, and it's proof in these -- in these statistics. It's just shameful to me that in our country that these young women are being infected because they honestly just don't have the information.

CHEN: And you think it's because we're saying only -- we're only talking about abstinence, we're not talking about protection or birth control, or things like that?

The fact of the matter is that in most schools across the country abstinence is not the only thing that is being talked about.  Additionally abstinence-only education receives one-tenth the funding that comprehensive sex education programs receive from the federal government.  Planned Parenthood's annual take from the federal coffers is $300 million. None of these facts were presented in Chen's interview.

Walsh went on to say that “if abstinence only did work, we wouldn't be seeing these kinds of statistics.  We wouldn't be seeing these young women suffering like this.”  Chen showed her bias when she concurred, “Yeah, I hear you.”

As CMI's director, Robert Knight, pointed out in a March 17 column, the national media fail to connect the dots when it comes to STD statistics and sex education.  The federal government has spent billions of dollars on “safe sex” programs in schools for the past 40 years. Yet every time statistics are released documenting a rise in STDs or teen pregnancy rates the liberal media condemn abstinence-only education

It's not surprising there's a rise in STDs and teen pregnancy rates.  Children are bombarded by sexual messages everywhere they turn.  The abstinence-only message is not the primary message being delivered to students in schools, in the culture, in the media they consume, or by Hollywood starlets who think children need to be educated sexually, but that their parents can't be trusted to do the job. Julie Chen should have pointed that out to Ms. Walsh.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.