Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chastity belts for young women?

I have not seen the movie Juno, but this New York Times writer takes an interesting perspective on teenage pregnancy. Well, maybe not all that interesting, but it certainly puts up a few bars on reality.

The author of the piece makes a good point that choosing to go forward with a pregnancy or not, and later deciding if adoption is a viable option or not, is not an easy thing to do:

“As any woman who has ever chosen (or been forced) to kick it old school can tell you, surrendering a baby whom you will never know comes with a steep and lifelong cost. Nor is an abortion psychologically or physically simple. It is an invasive and frightening procedure, and for some adolescent girls it constitutes part of their first gynecological exam. I know grown women who’ve wept bitterly after abortions, no matter how sound their decisions were. How much harder are these procedures for girls, whose moral and emotional universe is just taking shape?”

But instead of pointing to stats, in reference to something such as the outrageous data showing how abstinence-only education does nothing but perpetuate problems and self-loathing among young people, she jumps on the wagon of finger pointing:

“We, too, have a deep commitment to girls, and ours centers not on protecting their chastity, but on supporting their ability to compete with boys, to be free — perhaps for the first time in history — from the restraints that kept women from achieving on the same level. Now we have to ask ourselves this question: Does the full enfranchisement of girls depend on their being sexually liberated? And if it does, can we somehow change or diminish among the very young the trauma of pregnancy, the occasional result of even safe sex?”

The answer to the question is a resounding YES. Of course women should be sexually liberated, and that also means a progressive society that fosters protection via openness, contraception and the freedom to truly choose destiny…even if that person is not yet a legal adult.