Thursday, October 18, 2007

We can't fix it with a pill.

I admit I come down left of center when it comes to reproductive rights – Mr. UM would call me a screaming liberal on the topic. But the decision by a Maine middle school to provide contraceptive pills to girls in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, is craziness. The school district cites a rash of teen pregnancies (17 in the past four years) as the reason for its decision. It is appalling that four young girls a year in one Maine school district are pregnant. It is appalling that more are probably sexually active. Quite frankly, that even one american 11-year old girl, is having sex is appalling. That our answer is for middle schools to provide the Pill without parental notification is both appalling and absurd. It is wrong for so many reasons – questions of responsibility, parental control and the purpose of schools are all legitimate.

But in my mind the biggest reason it is wrong comes down to this. We, as a society, are supposed to protect and care for our children and providing contraception to 11-year old girls does neither. It is dangerous for 11 year old girls to have sex – it is dangerous for them physically, emotionally and, yes, spiritually. It our responsibility to prevent it from happening, especially if her parents are unwilling or unable. I don't believe providing contraception, or education or vaccinations encourages sex - but neither does it stop it.

The question is how do we stop it? How do we teach young people to respect themselves and each other? How do we teach them to wait? How do we let them know it is good to be young? That innocence is something to be valued? That they are precious?

Providing quality schools and safe streets is a start, but why are there halter tops, low rise jeans and daisy dukes available in girl’s size 6? Why is it okay to hear the words “bitch” and “ho” on television, in music and on the street? Why is there a sexual assault every 2.5 minutes in America? Why do 54% of all rapes of women happen to girls under age 18 with 22% of those to girls under age 12? Why is it that, in 2007, as a society, we still don’t treat women and children with decency and respect?

We are broken and I don’t think the Pill is going to fix it.


Anonymous said... raise a very important point on the issue of respect. We first have to give respect to ourselves and others if we are to expect respect in return. Simple concept that seems alien in today's society. Youngsters who are 11 having sex. These children are growing up without respect for themselves, for sure. It's all about "me" today and not about us as a society of like-minded adults. And where are the adults who are parenting these children? I think that's a very urgent question to be answered not just out here in our "golden ghetto" homes and communities but across our nation as well. I am not a right wing religious zealot, not even close. But I am old enough to see my community where I've raised kids who are just about your age and a bit older, try to find a sensible balance for themselves and my grandchildren. Out of control spending to make ourselves feel good, lack of respect for those we deem not quite as "good" as we are on the social pecking order, and forgetting that nobody is ever promised tomorrow in how we live our daily lives. So, UM, no, we can't fix what's broke with a pill. We CAN begin to look in that mirror and ask ourselves what kind of world we're building, what values are we teaching, what role models have we become that have earned us a right to walk on this earth each day. And what are we leaving behind for the generations to come. Rather a "heavy" post, for sure, but you raised the issue and I wanted to share what I'm seeing from my older age perspective. I've lived in the 10th District for almost 50 years. The changes are dramatic and to be expected. But I think we would all be better served if we took it down a notch, tried to be respectful in all that we do and say, in how we live our lives. It isn't all about "me".....or it shouldn't be. It IS, or should be, can be, a return to that golden rule we learned from our parents when we were 11 years old: do unto others as you would have them do to you. It can't hurt to try, can it?

Unincorporated Middle said...

Good insights all, Anon 12:16.

At some point we all need to realize we get the world we create.