A bit of give and take

A loyal reader recently asked for my thoughts. I felt a response was necessary because he has written on several occasions with very intelligent and cogent disagreements—and still hasn’t insulted my parental lineage. I’ve edited the questions for space.

Reader: Your Nov. 30 column mentioned the 1.3 million abortions a year. Ms. Pike, in the same issue, mentioned that the GOP administration is against contraceptives. The many published reports of GOP reasoning is the teaching of contraceptives leads to more premarital sex.

Hook: I’m certain neither the GOP nor the present administration is “against” contraceptives per se. I would venture that one or both however, are against subsidizing them.

I’m not familiar with the reports referenced, but I’ll accept your version. I believe that “teaching contraceptives leads to more premarital sex” is a conclusion one could reasonably draw. You don’t say “abstain” and then pass out the all-mighty condom and say “just in case.” That is the functional equivalent of “just say no to drugs” and then handing out a fresh pack of needles so everyone can practice “safe drugs.” (Use a clean needle, every time, kiddies, cuz AIDS kills.)

Reader: The Conservative Right is against the new vaccine available for girls to prevent a type of cancer related to sexual activity if the vaccine is given at an early age. Which is worse, one girl engaging in safe premarital sex or one girl having an abortion? Yes, I know, abstinence is best, but 1.3 million abortions says it’s not working.

Hook: Again, I don’t believe anyone is “against” the vaccine you reference, but more likely against tax dollars subsidizing it. The same argument is made for subsidized abortions. And I disagree with your assertion that there is such a thing as “safe sex,” whether premarital or otherwise. Contraceptives are attempts to reduce the negative consequences—pregnancy, disease, etc.—of sex, but that risk is never completely eliminated. Even in Russian Roulette, there’s a 16 percent chance someone eats a bullet the first time. The moral of the story: Play a game that you can’t afford and something inevitably will go badly. And the corollary: If you play, no one else should have to pay.

Reader: More pregnancies are a result of alcohol overuse. Would you restrict the overindulgence of alcohol-based drinks to reduce the number of pregnancies? Ladies nights—free drinks for all ladies all night long. Bartenders enabling sexual predators or creating a more relaxed social scene? As an attorney, would you take up the banner and ban ladies night at bars?

Hook: I think you know the answer across the board is a resounding “no.” (Remember, personal accountability.)

Reader: This is a case of picking the lesser of two evils, teaching the use of contraceptives and reducing the number of abortions or keeping the number of abortions and women having unwanted children in the millions each year. As I said above, 1.3 million say your plan isn’t working. Time for another approach?

Hook: Instead, perhaps it’s “safe sex” education that isn’t working?

We may not all agree on when “life begins,” but given half a chance, the fetus (or pick your euphemism) will inevitably get there. I don’t believe the kid, (or whatever euphemism is applied) should pay the consequences (aborted) for someone else’s stupidity.

Whether in utero or post partum, the kid has the same thing: Potential.

I think that’s worth eminently more than anything else.