Sunday Sermon: Turn a $10 Pro-Life T-Shirt into a $50,000 Windfall

The nice thing about being an activist is that, sometimes, you can work the system to spread your message while also walking away with a tidy sum of cash.

For instance, take Tiffany Amador, a 12-year-old former 6th grade student at McSwain Union Elementary School in Merced, California. Back in April of 2008, school officials asked her to remove the T-shirt she was wearing that day because they found it to be disruptive.

The T-shirt in question, identical to the one pictured here, was part of a pro-life campaign from the American Life League, which places pictures of an unborn fetus on the front of the shirt along with the catchy caption of “ABORTION: growing … growing … gone.”

Tiffany refused to remove her T-shirt and the next thing you know, bada-bing bada-boom, 12-year-old Tiffany had a lawyer and they sued the school district for infringing on her right to free speech.

This past Thursday a federal court judge ruled that the school and three of its officials had indeed violated Tiffany’s First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and the school district agreed to settle for the modest sum of $50,000 to avoid a lengthy trial.

The Moral of the Story …

Never shy away from using young children as walking billboards.

It can be very lucrative.

But Wait, There’s More …

It would be irresponsible of me to not provide the American Life League with the full Look Dumbass Treatment, so I would also like to give a big thumbs up for the ALL’s moral triumph against Urban Outfitters and those insidious heathens from Planned Parenthood.

On Thursday, ALL’s Stop Planned Parenthood International (STOPP) project proudly announced their victory through a press release – Urban Outfitters Pulls Planned Parenthood Condoms from Web Site – where they personally thanked all of the parents out there that took a stand and pressured Urban Outfitters to cease the online sale of condoms. The release went on, sticking another feather in the ALL’s hat, by stating:

A recent CDC study shows that most teens are sexually abstinent. The rise in the number of sexually abstinent teens and the downturn in teen pregnancy rates coincide with the availability and popularity of abstinence speakers and educational material.

Yes, yes. Those abstinence speakers are making a difference alright. Unfortunately, the statement is misleading. Dare I say … bullshit?

The American Life League and their pals at – who claim that the CDC report “debunks Planned Parenthood’s constant mantra that most teens will not abstain” – weren’t kind enough to provide readers with a link to the CDC reference material in their stories… but I will: “Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2008“.

Judging by the study title, you’d think the report was a comprehensive view of the overall sexual activity of teenagers … wouldn’t you? I mean, who wants to pour over a 79-page statistical report – 86-pages in PDF format – to see what it really says when you can just take the word of the American Life League or LifeSiteNews at face value.

Don’t worry … I did.

In the 15-19 age group, “only” 42% of never-married females and 43% of males have had sex – each down from 46% in 2002. The report examines – at length – the issue of “sexually experienced” teens, which they define on page 10 … as teens that “have ever had heterosexual vaginal intercourse”. Within the report you’ll also find more than a dozen pages of statistical reference tables giving various outlooks and breakdowns on teens that have “had sex” during the study period, or have “ever had sex” … each of which includes a little note at the bottom of the table, stating:

Note: Numbers and percents reflect heterosexual vaginal sexual intercourse only, not other types of sexual activity.

Oh snap!

This report from the CDC is not about sexual activity in general, it is about a very specific sexual activity. Seems to me that the good folks at the American Life League want to interpret “sexually abstinent” to only mean individuals that are not having male-female vaginal sex.

Sure, you can read stories all over the web, from places like the Washington Post noting how over 1/2 of all American teenagers are engaging in oral sex. The Tennessean talking about the increase of STDs amongst teens. You can pop over to ABC News and read reports like “Study Reports Anal Sex on Rise Among Teens” and “Teens: Oral Sex and Casual Prostitution No Biggie“. Or, hit up FoxNews, for reports noting that 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD.

If you want to go straight to the source, you can scour a 56-page report direct from the CDC which talks about specific sexual acts – not just vaginal. There’s the CDC’s Trends in Reportable STDs study that covers increases in Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis infections. If graphs are your thing, there’s the CDC’s STD Health Disparities system, where you’ll find that people aged 15-24 have FIVE TIMES the rate of infection of Chlamydia and FOUR TIMES the rate of infection for Gonorrhea than the entire population of the United States.

And on, and on, and on.

What an interesting world we live in, where people pat themselves on the back and take credit for promoting abstinence and reducing sexual activity amongst teens, because as we all know … blowjobs and backdoor action just don’t count.

I can’t help but wonder … would the American Life League celebrate a victory for free speech, as they did in the case of Tiffany, if the 12-year-old elementary school girl was wearing a shirt promoting planned parenthood and safe sex? Hmmmm. I somehow doubt it.

American Life Leaguers … welcome to my playpen.