Area teen-agers have been discussing the parental notification rule on contraceptives since the Reagan administration proposed it a year ago.
Concluded a Feb. 26, 1982, editorial in Walt Whitman High School's newspaper the Black & White:
"The new contraceptive regulation is asking the government to make a choice between the desire of the parent to know about and the need of the teen-ager to have contraceptive protection. Unfortunately, we cannot have both in most cases; thus the need for contraception must take precedence to cut down the alarming rate of teen-age pregnancies and the accompanying number of illegitimate children and abortions."
Other area student editors and representatives were asked to share their views and opinions of their classmates. Among their responses: Sam Baker, 17, editor-in-chief of Theogony, newspaper of T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria:
"Personally I think the law would be a mistake, and I'd imagine most students at my school would be against it, too. I find it hard to believe that the government really thinks they can force kids to communicate with their parents.
"Guys can still get contraceptives, so if the whole basis for passing the law is to try and prevent sex it's not going to work. If the guy doesn't want to use condoms they probably won't, but they'll still have sex. It'll just increase the danger of having a baby. Maybe in some individual cases it would stop them from having sex, but I think the overall effect would be negative.
"The smartest thing adults can do is talk to teens and educate them that if you're going to have sex, use contraceptives." Adrienne Szafran, 18, editor of The Raider Review, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Lanham:
"I really agree with the law. I guess I'm pretty conservative on the subject of premarital sex. I think it's a very serious issue. When you're under 18 your parents are still responsible for you, and since there are some side effects to birth control they should know if you're using it.
"The law could discourage some teen-age sex. I think it should be the parents' decision whether or not their kids have sex because they're responsible for them. I think you should be submissive to your parents.
"What I'd like to see would be the parents and the teens talking it over. I have a very close-knit family, and we can talk. But I agree that it's a hard situation if your family life isn't very good. This is the kind of thing that could tear a family apart or bring them together. If the parents truly care for their child it would spark some concern.
"A lot of kids disagree with me. I'd say probably 60 percent of the students at my school would not favor the law and 40 percent would favor it." Cheryl Wilson, 17, literary editor of The Courier, Cardozo High School, Northwest Washington:
"I think the law would be a mistake because instead of going to get protection it would cause teens to have sex without it.
"Then again, it might help some parents get closer to their kids. But sex is not really a topic of conversation with your parents. It seems that sex is a subject parents feel embarrassed to talk to their kids about. If kids are sexually active, they don't discuss it.
"All it will do is cause a strain. You've got enough pressures without a stranger calling your home to tell you your daughter got contraceptives. I'd guess that most of the kids in my school would be against the law about 95 percent to 5 percent.
"I personally don't believe in sex before marriage, but I think I'm in the minority. I know quite a few of the students at my school use the clinics, and their parents don't know that they're sexually active. If the clinics were to call their parents they would probably stop going to the clinics, but they wouldn't stop having sex.
"Kids who are sexually active don't want their parents to know, I guess, because they fear rejection or animosity. It's a very emotional thing where they may feel like they've failed their parents . Or they might be liberal and their parents may not be." Stewart Patrick, 18, editor-in-chief of The St. Albans News, St. Albans School for Boys, Northwest Washington:
"Everyone I've talked to is very much opposed to it. It seems like a real invasion of something private.
"First of all it's sexist since it puts the whole responsibility on the girl. It's not fair that just her parents have to know. It's also discriminatory on an economic level since it just affects the poor people who can't afford private clinics.
"I think it's naive to think it would discourage promiscuity. The only thing it would discourage would be contraception. I think it's naive to think kids won't have sex. Maybe they'll experiment with the rhythm method or something.
"I don't think most kids talk with their parents about what they do sexually . If the communication doesn't already exist between kids and their parents a law isn't going to start them talking. I'm very close to my parents, and we've talked about sex in general, but not in specifics. You can understand what their feelings are.
"I just see a huge gulf between what parents know and what kids are doing. Not just pertaining to sex, but in drinking and other things, too. There's a kind of communication gap between what kids think is okay and what parents think is okay.
"I guess the reason why kids don't tell their parents everything is that you want to have your own independence. One way to do that is to try things your parents may not approve of. It's not always a conscious decision, but teen-age is a time of rebellion. Also, kids may feel their parents would be disappointed. It happens in the most caring families, because they are the parents who might be disappointed most." Consuella Clarke, 17, president of the National Honor Society at the Immaculate Conception Academy, Northwest Washington:
"I think the rule is somewhere in between good and bad. If a girl is under 18 she is under her parents' jurisdiction so they have a right to know what she's doing. But for some girls who can't relate to their parents, it will mean they won't get contraception so it will increase teen-age pregnancy.
"I think the new law will make some girls think twice about having sex promiscuously. And I think it will help communication between girls and their parents in some cases, because a girl might rather discuss getting contraceptives with her parents than have a stranger call and tell them. But it's unavoidable, I think, that some girls who can't talk to their parents will have sex without contraceptives.
"I'd think most of the girls at my school would say it should be enforced because they have pretty close relationships with their parents and wouldn't be uptight about talking to them about practically anything. Often when people get in high school they think they are adults who can do anything, but they have to realize they are living with their parents and their parents are responsible for them. Sure, it's a pretty private thing to talk about, but they're your parents, not some strangers.
"I just wish there were some way guys had to let their parents know, too." Brian Hopson, 17, editor-in-chief of The Beacon, Woodrow Wilson High School, Northwest Washington:
"Six members of our staff discussed it and we all thought it would be counterproductive. Instead of decreasing teen-age sex it would only increase teen-age pregnancy. It might also increase VD since students would stay away from the clinics. Hopson said he wasn't aware that the only exception to notification would be if there is concern about physical harm to the girl, or if drugs are prescribed to treat venereal disease.
"It's also an invasion of privacy. What about the confidentiality between a doctor and a patient?
"We do feel the parents have a right to know what their kids are doing. But the government shouldn't have any part of that. The best thing for parents to do is to ask their kids directly. If they have an honest relationship they'll find out. It should be discussed among the family, and if they're against it they should let their kids know."