Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Waking Up About Teen Sex

"Is Teen Sex Bad?" [May 16] will be very edifying to many people; all of the U.S. statistics are shocking, particularly the fact that "a third of all U.S. girls become pregnant before they turn 20." Hopefully your article will serve as a wake-up call to some of our country's backward legislators. It is true that our country's teens receive a mixed message regarding sex, and it is unfair that some teens are geographically and socioeconomically less likely to have important information on safe sex practices. (And even if it doesn't reach Congress, I'm sure it will at least help answer many questions parents have on this topic!)

Shawn Magnuson

Takoma Park

That Pre-pregnancy Plan? Oh, Please.

I was sad to see the recent CDC recommendations regarding preconception care for all fertile women ["Forever Pregnant," May 16] and take it as further evidence of the politicization of our nation's once-vaunted professional services.

If our public health services are interested in improving pregnancy outcomes, they need to advocate three things: universal health care for all Americans, improved education about and availability of birth control, and the licensing of the morning-after pill as an over-the-counter drug, as the experts at the FDA have recommended.

Sorry, but I'm not about to recommend to all fertile women in my practice that they stop drinking alcohol -- when there is no evidence that moderate use is harmful to them -- so that they can stand ready to be impregnated at any time. It is one thing to encourage women to forgo their own desires for the needs of their babies when pregnant; it is quite another to demand that harmless activities be given up for the totality of their reproductive lives, as this report suggests, so they may be better ready to serve the fatherland as breeders.

Robert A. Schweizer, MD

Media, Pa.

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