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Sex Education Clinics for Teens

March 10, 1986

Thank you for the Neal Peirce column (Editorial Pages, Feb. 24), "Clinics for Teens Who Don't Say 'No' ".

Dr. Erick Hakanson, founder of the clinics in St. Paul, Minn., cited what teen-age pregnancies bring in their wake: "Underweight babies and hospital costs up to $100,000 for premature births; high degrees of infant illness; the children's later poor school performance; greater risk of juvenile delinquency; family disorganization and perpetuation of the poverty-welfare cycle." It is important that secure, older citizens know that the teen-age pregnancy problem requires much more attention than mere head-shaking and hand-wringing.

In Sacramento last month there was heated debate in the Assembly Judiciary Subcommittee on the Administration of Justice on Senate Bill 7, which would require pregnant minors to get parental permission, or permission of a judge before obtaining an abortion. The subcommittee rejected the bill; the next day the full Judiciary Committee also rejected the measure.

It is not hard to figure out which of the above two actions is beneficial to teen-agers and their futures.

Teen-agers do not need anti-abortion laws. Teen-agers need help to understand the real world with its dangers and traps.

Responsible older citizens can help our school districts establish clinics that have proven effective in other communities: clinics that provide medical care and sound advice to children so they can understand and cope with their changing physiology; can understand the necessity to grow up healthy in body, educated at least enough to confidently assume the responsibilities of adulthood.

CLARA LINK

Pasadena

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