As the nation focuses on Super Tuesday and other Democratic primaries, candidates have been asked questions about practically everything. I suppose we should be grateful that Elizabeth Warren hasn’t been asked about the size of her hands.
As usual, there have been almost no questions regarding sexually-oriented policy. Here are questions that all serious candidates should be discussing and answering:
- Will you encourage Congress to pass a law requiring all sex education to be medically accurate? After all, we expect geography and chemistry curricula to be accurate. Most of today’s federally-funded sex “education” is filled with gender stereotypes, moral judgements, and outright lies. No wonder America leads the developed world in teen and unintended pregnancy.
- Will you encourage states to have a humane policy about sexting by minors? Especially if a state has an age of consent under 18 (half the states do)—so that young people who can have sex legally can’t be jailed for taking nude selfies?
- Will you make sure that there’s enough funding so that anyone can get tested for an STI or potential pregnancy confidentially and anonymously within a two-hour bus ride of their house?
- Will you state that there is a clear difference between abortion and contraception, and that while people may differ about the ideal availability of abortion, science shows us the difference between the two? And that as a country we stand squarely for people’s access to contraception? Anti-choice activists are deliberately blurring the difference between abortion and birth control, demonizing both.
- Will you challenge state attorneys general to require local communities to prove they have a good reason to shut down strip clubs, swing clubs, and sex toy stores? Will you instruct the Department of Justice to examine the legality of cities inventing a Sexually Oriented Business category to create punitive zoning and taxation policies? Taxing a strip club differently than the ballet is clearly unconstitutional—and increasingly common.
- Will you instruct the FBI to treat violence committed against clinics that offer legal abortion in the same way that they treat any organized violence against legal enterprises—i.e., as potential racketeering activity?
- Will you challenge the Department of Education to give new instructions to college campuses, requiring that all cases of alleged sexual violence be referred to local police and due process judicial proceedings, rather than instructing colleges to throw together “courts” of non-trained administrators to, um, do their best?
- When consulting religious figures about policies involving so-called morality issues—such as pornography, unwed pregnancies, taxes on condoms—will you also consult representatives of the 10-million-member atheist and humanist community?
- Will you discourage states from passing legislation declaring pornography a public health hazard? Every one of these declarations contains blatant lies (e.g., “porn is responsible for the increase in sexual violence” [which doesn’t exist]) and ridiculous, unproven assertions (e.g., “porn is reducing young men’s motivation to marry”).
Memo to all candidates: Most of the people whose support you seek are sexually active. Policies like the above will get you their attention and their votes.