The well-coiffured anchorman was just finishing the second installment of his special report on teen pregnancy, this one on the controversy surrounding the distribution of contraceptives at Chicago’s DuSable High School. In typical television fashion, he whet viewer appetites by dramatically building our interest in his third and final report.

“And tomorrow [in serious news-voice tone], we’ll talk to some people who are offering an alternative to school-based clinics [pause to build curiosity], an alternative that just might be catching on.”

Our curiosity is piqued. What, pray tell, could this latest “answer” be?

The anchorman [smiling]: “Abstinence.”

Moral Schizophrenia

Twenty years after the advent of the so-called new morality, a basic tenet of the old is coming back into vogue. And little wonder. The “blessings” of sexual freedom have not only compounded societal sorrows with a litany of sexually transmitted diseases (STDS), but they have altered society’s very ability to deal effectively with the moral questions at the root of its sexual crisis. How can one address the specter of AIDS, or the junior-high girl experiencing her second pregnancy, when morality is individualistic, nonbinding to anyone but the person or persons being affected?

Obviously, one cannot.

But society seems intent upon ignoring the obvious. Rather than questioning an individual’s ethic (and thereby jeopardizing the person’s moral freedom or “rights”), we question the consequences of the individual ethic held. Yet the “consequences” of teenage pregnancy pose but another critical socio-moral issue facing and frustrating this societal mindset. This year ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.