Friday, March 30, 2007

He's Gone...

I spent Thursday morning talking to more than 250 9th - 12th graders at a local private school about moral sexual decision making. I started by talking about how sexuality was more than sex, about my belief that teenagers deserve support from adults who will answer all of their questions and respect their decision making, and then turned to the question of the criteria for moral ethical sexual relationships. I shared that like most adults I believe that teenagers in high school are not physically, emotionally, or spiritually ready for mature sexual relationships, but that teenagers who engage in sexual intercourse of any kind must have access to contraception and condoms.

And then I turned to the questions that they had submitted on index cards. They ranged from "does size matter?", to "is it healthy or harmful to masturbate", to "do condoms protect against all STD's?" to "if we only have sex right after my period could I get pregnant?" Some of them were too crude to repeat here, but I read and answered as many as I could in the time available. The students were both surprised by my candor and intently interested in my answers.

I thought about them when I just read the AP story that Eric Keroack has just resigned as the head of the national family planning program. I wrote about his ridiculous appointment in the fall -- that President Bush had no right to appoint a person who didn't believe in contraception as the head of the national family planning program or believed that teenagers should only be taught about abstinence. It turns out that the Medicaid program in Massachusetts has just sued Dr. Keroack (for reasons yet to be revealed) and he was forced to resign from his post. I wish that reproductive health advocates could claim that our actions had brought about this resignation, but it seems that malfeasance did it for us.

Yesterday morning once again proved to me that teenagers need honest, full, and unbiased information from trained leaders -- that yes we need to encourage them to abstain but they are full of questions, very specific questions, about how to protect themselves and their partners if they are having sex -- and they deserve answers and support. Can we dare to hope that President Bush will appoint a head of the national family planning program who might think so too?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOO-HOO!!! I hadn't yet heard the news, but I'm thrilled that this not-very-funny joke of an appointment is over. Seriously, when I first read about him it sounded like something from The Onion.

OK, now I'm just afraid of what kind of case they'll dig up next for the job.