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There are many physical and emotional reasons. Physically, there is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., many of which are dangerous and even life-threatening, such as HIV/AIDS and HPV, which is present in almost all cases of abnormal pap smears and cervical cancer. In recent studies, as reported by the CDC, condoms do not prevent the transmission of HPV and only reduce the risk of infection by HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other major dangerous STDs (see letter by Dr. Perry, above). Also, once a person has one of these STDs, their chances of acquiring HIV are greatly increased. Condoms were invented to stop the passage of sperm, not to stop the passage of extremely small bacteria and viruses. Also, few adults use condoms correctly and consistently, every time; does anyone realistically believe teenagers in the heat of the moment will do better? The CDC has stated that if condoms are NOT used every single time, they are virtually useless in preventing STDs.

The “pill” and the “shot” only reduce the risk of conception. The pill must be taken at the same time every day (do our teens remember all their school assignments and appointments? Are they always punctual?). We all dislike pollution in the environment; what dangerous pollution do these chemicals cause in our young daughters’ bodies? When their body metabolism, which is still developing, is unbalanced by these strong hormones, what are the long-term effects? The pill and the shot can actually change the environmental lining of the vagina, apparently making it more susceptible to the transmission of STDs.

Teen pregnancy often leads to abortion. 20% of U.S. women obtaining legal abortions in 1997 were aged 19 or under; 32% were aged 20-24 years [CDC, 1997data]. Thus over half of all legal abortions are performed on American women under 25 years of age. Abortion has a multitude of physical and psychological complications attached, including hemorrhaging, sterility, suicide attempts.

To risk the lives of our teens in order to avoid our parental responsibility to take time to communicate with our children and pass along to them our values and beliefs is very dangerous indeed…