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Mahony and School Clinics

November 17, 1986

The Times' charge of "unwarranted intrusion" concerning Archbishop Mahony's letter to Catholics about "health clinics" providing contraceptives to teen-agers deserves a reply from Catholics who live in the earthiness of our secular society.

Both The Times and school board member Roberta Weintraub reflect the same arrogance: the secular world is our school ground--no Catholics allowed! In their attitudes can be seen the perverse extension of notions about church and state. If religious-minded people are enjoined from using government to support their views they also should refrain from free expression as citizens.

As citizens of every persuasion, we share concern about the alarming increase in teen-age pregnancies. Reasonable minds may differ about the effectiveness of ways and means of coping with the problem. There are research and evaluation studies of existing programs that show that high school-based birth control clinics don't work.

With regard to protection of health against the current blight of venereal disease, the Army's experience ought to be instructive. During five years with other young soldiers I was exposed to a lot of films on VD and heard many lectures on the use of contraceptives. However, from the doctors who supplied the penicillin I learned that many of my associates had contacted gonorrhea or syphilis within a period of a year or so.

Those who didn't get VD heeded the old soldier's advice: "If you don't want the 'clap', keep it in your pants."


Los Angeles

Freese is president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

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