For the second time in eight months, "Good Morning America" has featured an extremely liberal sexuality author, who blogs on a condom website and touts Democrats, as a neutral expert. On Friday's program, Logan Levkoff, the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be," and a woman who has previously stated she wouldn't rule out giving birth control to elementary school students, appeared to discuss the epidemic of teen pregnancies in Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, GMA never identified the leftist positions of this woman who once wrote a sex column titled "Ask Mistress Lola."
Levkoff explained to co-host Robin Roberts that "our policies are not helping our children." Running down abstinence education, she argued, "And the fact is, we as parents need to get involved and we as schools need to advocate for healthy sexuality education. And that means talking about everything, not just abstinence, because, clearly, even if that's what they're getting that's not what these kids are doing." Levkoff is no moderate voice. She blogs on the Trojan Elexa website and her topics have included celebrating "Blog for Choice Day," bashing President Bush and being "psyched" when the Democrats won back Congress in 2006. Shouldn't it be the responsibility of ABC to identify the extremely liberal perspective that Levkoff operates from?
On Friday's segment, Levkoff didn't appear quite as radical as her last appearance on GMA. On October 17, 2007, co-host Diane Sawyer asked if the sex expert would draw the line at birth control for grade school students. At that point, she retorted, "I don't necessarily draw the line because we're in a world where we get so many sexual messages and where is our goal?" On Friday's program, Levkoff spoke of Gloucester, Massachusetts, where teen pregnancies have spiked. She complained about the " the lack of access to reproductive health services." Wouldn't it be helpful at this point to know that this expert is aggressively pro-abortion?
Levkoff did appear with another guest, Sue Todd, the CEO of Pathways for Children, a group that provides day care for pregnant teens so that they can continue their education. But, Todd certainly was not a counter-point to Levkoff's leftist beliefs.
Once again, ABC has attempted to pass off a committed liberal as a neutral expert with no agenda.
A transcript of the June 20 segment, which aired at 7:34am follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: We are joined here in the studio by sexuality educator Logan Levkoff. She is the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be" and Sue Todd, president and CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day care center that helps teen moms at that Gloucester school. Good morning to you both. Sue, let me start with you, first of all. You live there in the community. Last year there were three teen pregnancies. 17, 18 this year. What do you think is going on?
SUE TODD (President and CEO, Pathways for Children): I wish I had the answer to that. I think what we need to really be focusing on is to get to the root cause of that and we can only do that if we all work together. I think there are many factors that are playing into this and finding one easy answer is not going to work.
ROBERTS: No, it's never easy to try to find just one answer. We heard in Andrea's report, Sue, contraceptives not available at all and also we understand sex education stops in the ninth grade there?
TODD: That's my understanding. Again, that is conducted in the public schools, not through our organization.
ROBERTS: And you --
TODD: But also we are-- I'm sorry. We're focusing really in on looking at parental accountability and trying to come together as a community to begin to work on this issue and, again, find out what is really happening and try to stop this from repeating.
ROBERTS: Logan, what we're seeing in Gloucester, is this what -- is this a reflection of what's going on in the country? We do see that teen pregnancy is on the rise for the first time in 15 years.
LOGAN LEVKOFF (Author, "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be"): For the first time in 15 years. I think this is indicative of America doing a really bad job at communicating well and positively about sexuality. One in 14 teen girls in this country has at least one sexually transmitted infection. We have the highest sexually transmitted infection rates of any western developed nation. Our policies are not helping our children. And the fact is, we as parents need to get involved and we as schools need to advocate for healthy sexuality education. And that means talking about everything, not just abstinence, because, clearly, even if that's what they're getting that's not what these kids are doing.
ROBERTS: What would you specifically tell the folks there in Gloucester, suggest that they do?
LEVKOFF: I would suggest we take on comprehensive sexuality education, which also talks about abstinence and why it's important at times to be abstinence but also it's a program that continues. It doesn't end as freshmen. It continues. It's an ongoing dialogue and starts much earlier so that when teens are ready to make decisions about sex they know how to make smart ones.
ROBERTS: Sue, you run-- you're part of a company that runs a day care center there in the high school for the students. Not the only one in the country. There are many high schools throughout the country. Some people may find that surprising. Critics say is that making it easier for teen mothers? Are you enabling them in a way?
TODD: I certainly have heard that comment. The data actually, nationally, on research actually refutes that, that we have been shown to be a deterrent, not to be an encouragement for the teens. There are very strict requirements for the girls that are participating in the program, one is that whenever they are with their babies they're in the classroom, where role modeling is taking place and a lot of good activity, parenting course, support group, et cetera.
ROBERTS: And you said many have gone on to graduate where possibly they would not have had that opportunity.
TODD: That's correct:
ROBERTS: What do you think, Logan, of seeing day care? I know some people are going, what? Day care in a high school?
LEVKOFF: With all due respect to Sue's program, we want teen mothers to be able to stay in school but that program with the lack of ongoing sexuality education and the lack of access to reproductive health services may not be sending the best message. The fact is that babies may be welcome in this school and school district but the harsh reality is that outside those walls, teen parents are not as welcomed into the community. Life is tough. So, we want to make sure we send a balanced message that, okay, it's okay to be a teen mom, but it's had and it's not something we should strive to be.
ROBERTS: Pop culture play a role?
LEVKOFF: Definitely plays a role. I mean, it certainly doesn't help the situation. Jamie Lynn Spears, "Juno" These are either characters or pop culture figures that don't represent the average teen. And that's the problem. We see their lives detailed. We think we can be like them but the fact is we'll never have the resources that they have. So we need to make better decisions.
ROBERTS: Logan, thank you very much. Again, the name of your book, "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be."
LEVKOFF: And it ain't.
ROBERTS: Sue, thank you very much. We appreciate your time.