I respect a woman’s decision not to have an abortion, even if she’s ill prepared -financially or emotionally–to be a mother. I don’t have to agree with her. It’s her choice. It’s her life.
I understand the myriad reasons women become pregnant in the first place, some good and some horrific. Unless we make it illegal to have sex under certain circumstances (marital, economic and emotional instability, for example), it seems unlikely we’re going to reverse the current sexual habits of the American man and woman during their reproductive years.
Making contraception and contraceptive education available are imperatives. If a young woman, from a deeply religious Catholic family, has sex before marriage, she should at least have protected sex. If she doesn’t want to use contraception, she should at least understand when to have ‘safe’ sex. It’s pure insanity to think otherwise.
Talking about procreation, the lead story in today’s New York Times reports a dramatic rise in the percentage of unmarried women under thirty who are having babies out of wedlock. Many have some college but the majority do not. Studies show that children born outside marriage face higher risks of becoming poor, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.
Our social, cultural and ethical mores have been in a continual state of flux during the last 40 years. It is becoming harder and harder to understand the ramifications. Rigidity in terms of restricting women’s access to birth control does not seem to be a realistic way of dealing with them.
One thing is clear: The Fifties aren’t coming back. We shouldn’t pretend they are.