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It is becoming increasingly difficult for many of us in nursing and health education to accept the argument that the solution to the high rates of abortion and teen pregnancy is "better sex education and more contraceptive choices."

Prevention of early sexual activity has been consistently ignored or dismissed until recently. It has been assumed that sex among teens is inevitable or irreversible. This is simply not true.

A study of the fluctuations in the rates of pre-marital pregnancy in America over the past 350 years demonstrates this. Adult and, consequently, teen attitudes about pre-marital sex have changed before and will change again. The present increase can be reversed with efforts to prevent early sexual activity. Involvement from all sectors of the community is needed, including the Catholic Church.

Our approaches must be comprehensive. Traditional and single-parent families need to become involved, not estranged. Chastity based education which is formative and directive should be implemented, not ignored.

Adult awareness is a priority. Negative influences on children (and adults) resulting from adult extra-marital sexual behavior and uncommitted and fleeting relationships need to be addressed. Abortion, the concept of contraception for teens and traditional sex education programs have done nothing but aggravate the situation and disguise basic problems.

One such problem is the cavalier and unrealistic attitude about relationships, sex and sexuality shared by some adults and teens. These approaches mask the need for addressing the most basic problem of all, dysfunctions in the relationship between man and woman and their effect on the family and society.

Director of Natural Family Planning
Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

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