'Recreational Sex is Not an Olympic Sport,' Pro-Family Groups Say

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Pro-family groups are decrying a decision by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) to provide free condoms to Olympic athletes attending the winter games, as doctors in and out of Congress point out their deficiencies in preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The official Olympic medical supplier, Cardinal Health, donated 12,000 condoms to be made available to athletes through first aid stations.

Generation Life, a group of pro-life college students, artists, and musicians from Boise, Idaho, held a press conference to protest the SLOC's decision to distribute the condoms.

"Recreational sex is not an Olympic sport," Generation Life founder Brandi Swindell told CNSNews.com. "The decision that the Salt Lake Organizing Committee made is appalling."

Swindell says the decision not only misrepresents the values of the Olympic games, but also the values of the people of Utah.

"There's no reason that the SLOC should enable or promote casual sex," she added. "It doesn't represent the virtues of the Olympics or of the people of Utah, most of whom are people of faith, members of the LDS church."

She adds that, in challenging the SLOC decision, Generation Life hopes to bring broader attention to misinformation about so-called "protected sex."

"We are trying to expose the 'safe sex' myth regarding condoms and casual sex," Swindell said. "We are very concerned that people are being taught this fairy tale that if people have promiscuous sex but use a condom everything will be fine."

Wendy Wright, communications director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) is also concerned about the message SLOC is sending to the athletes.

"This is really irresponsible because it's encouraging the athletes to be promiscuous," Wright said. "What they're saying, in essence, is, 'We expect you to be sexually active while you're here.' That encourages behavior that can end up being illegal, like sexual harassment."

But Caroline Shaw, a spokeswoman for the SLOC, disagreed.

"We consider it a good public health practice," she told reporters last week.

Wright is shocked that the SLOC is unaware of the medical evidence about the lack of actual "public health" benefits from condoms.

"As has been shown by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a number of other studies," she pointed out, "condoms do not effectively protect against sexually transmitted diseases."

In fact, a 2000 report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that, while "consistent and correct" condom use does show some measurable reduction in the transmission of gonorrhea and up to 85 percent prevention of HIV, there is no clinical proof of effectiveness in preventing syphilis, genital herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer), trichomoniasis, or chlamydia, according to the Physicians Consortium, a nationwide group of 2,000 doctors that examined the report.

Former Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist and member of the consortium, said the report finally exposed the federal government's attempts to promote a flawed "health" policy.

"For decades the federal government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to promote an unsubstantiated claim that promiscuity with condoms can be safe," Coburn said. "We now know for a fact that this is a lie."

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), another legislator-physician and member of the consortium, has long been critical of the CDC for its alleged misrepresentation of condom effectiveness.

"Clearly, the Centers for Disease Control and other proponents of 'safe sex' have overplayed the effectiveness of condoms," Weldon said.

"As a result, tens of millions of Americans are living with the consequences of decisions that they made based on faulty information, much of that information having been paid for and disseminated with their tax dollars," he added.

Weldon notes that 65 million Americans have been diagnosed with incurable, sexually transmitted diseases, and that, unless something changes, there will be 15 million new infections each year in the future.

Other medical organizations are on record, as well, saying that condoms do not protect against all STDs, especially against HPV.

For example, Dr. Richard D. Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), concluded that the NIH findings were conclusive and that, "additional research efforts by NCI on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing HPV transmission are not warranted."

Generation Life has planned a protest at the SLOC headquarters in Salt Lake City at 1 p.m. Mountain Time Friday. Swindell says 40 to 50 members of the group and other supporters are expected to attend.

E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.

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