Counsel of Chalcedon
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Prescribing Contraceptives to the Unmarried

A man presents himself to his physician, prior to his trip to South America. He requests penicillin, the long acting kind, prior to departure. He states that he intends to engage in sexual intercourse and knows from previous experience that he will most likely contract certain venereal diseases. Would you "prophylactically treat?"

This example is analogous to decisions we must make regarding teenage pregnancy. Several years ago, a favorite topic of social planners and politicians was the issue of adolescent sexuality. The actual focus of the discussion was on preventing the consequences, since that was the tangible aspect. At that time, the consequences were pregnancy and various sexually-transmitted diseases. The diseases have changed through the years but pregnancy was usually of more concern than the diseases. The problem has become even more imperative now because no longer are the consequences simply annoying; with the advent of AIDS they are fatal. The solutions that have been proposed are faulty because the focus on consequences is faulty.