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Teen-Agers and Premarital Sex

May 17, 1986

Hurray for Abstinence! Thank you for running the article by Cal Thomas (Editorial Pages, May 5), "Why Not Tell Teen-Agers to Avoid Premarital Sex?" I'm no longer a voice crying in an indifferent wilderness, beginning to feel hopelessly out of date.

For years I have spoken and written to friends and acquaintances in the youth welfare field, both locally and nationally, urging them to start a national movement with the theme of "Abstinence, not Abortion!"

And in the last year I've changed it to "Abstinence, not Abortion or AIDS." Even "Don't Say Maybe, Say No!" might do it. It's not the words, it's the sentiment that I've tried to promote.

I've contacted representatives of youth services of varied races and varied organizations involved in family planning (I'm deliberately not naming them). All I've received is the equivalent of a weak smile and a "Don't you wish?" It's too late for that, I'm told. They seem determined to raise money to help only situations that are fait accompli, with little force and interest in prevention.

My age, late 60s, is against me as a persuader. The high moral standards of my youth and my parents' youth seem to be disdained as out of the mainstream, but many (not all, of course) of the past generations abstained from youthful sex until after marriage, and it surely didn't kill us or leave us with psychological scars.

Abstinence was accepted as the approved standard for unmarried people. Most of us didn't question it (the nonexistence of birth control pills had a lot to do with our acceptance, I must admit).

However, I contend that a good media blitz can sell anything, with things that are good for people a little more difficult, but it can be done.

Teaching the value of abstinence to your people could save them great pain.



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