Watching the summer courtship rituals being played out on the streets and in the parks these days makes me wonder what, if anything, would change if President Reagan had his way on the abortion issue.
What is Reagan going to accomplish by targeting the District of Columbia, particularly, in his antiabortion campaign? Last week, he told lawmakers that he favors a budget amendment that would prohibit city use of local funds, as well as federal funds, to pay for abortions.
Frankly, he cannot claim "moral authority" on this matter, for the consequences of his actions would be economic chaos. Banning abortion funding for women in this city would do nothing more than perpetrate poverty -- and all of its attendant ailments -- by forcing life that cannot be adequately sustained.
Now don't give me any of that stuff about telling District girls not to get pregnant in the first place.
The reality of sexual relations in this society today is that most girls and boys, regardless of race, are hot to trot. The only difference that race makes is that blacks are less likely than whites to afford an abortion.
Almost two-thirds of the pregnant teen-agers living in the relatively rich Fairfax and Howard counties had abortions in one recent year, according to local statistics. In 1985, 1,006 of the reported 1,598 Fairfax teen-agers who became pregnant opted for abortion while in Howard County, 62 percent of the 333 reported teen-age pregnancies were terminated.
"The majority of the teens who are getting abortions are middle- and upper-middle class suburban girls," said Gail Frances, who owns abortion clinics in Fairfax and Montgomery counties.
Said Myra Herbert, a senior social worker in Fairfax, "This is a well-to-do area where many students are college-bound, so pregnancy is an obstacle that you get rid of."
But not if you're black and poor.
In that case, you keep the baby although you have no idea how to care for one. You let the child grow up without guidance, without role models, and if the child turns to a life of crime, maybe even kills somebody (and it will almost certainly be somebody in the black community) then the child just goes to jail.
Two lives wasted, maybe even more, instead of one.
And in all likelihood, Reagan is not going to propose increasing aid to families with dependent children after cutting abortion funds.
I know all of this sounds ugly, and it is. In a perfect world, we would not have to deal with it.
However, there is something still quite mysterious and apparently unexplainable about sexual relations, something that this society has been unable to teach -- whether at home, at school or in the church. Banning abortion will not cause that lesson, whatever it is, to magically materialize.
The way it is, say local educators and health officials, is that young people still subscribe to myths about sex, such as "you can't get pregnant on the first time." And kids are still getting pregnant as a way of getting attention from their parents.
Penny Smith, director of an abortion clinic in Maryland, said some kids are having sex "out of boredom, because they have no place to hang out."
In a perfect world, parents would teach their kids about sex and responsibility. But they don't. And until they start, options will be needed to protect society from these personal failures. Abortion just happens to be one of them.