The costly bottom line

I can still remember the first time I interviewed well-known Christian author and pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker. It was more than a decade ago, before I moved into Catholic radio and when I was hosting a talk show on a local evangelical station. Meeker had just published her first book, “Epidemic: How Teen Sex is Killing Our Kids” (Lifeline Press, $24.95).

I found Meeker’s about-face on the issue of artificial contraception and her journey back to Christ intriguing because it was similar to my own in many ways. At one point we were both well-established professionals thinking we were wise to the ways of the world. We had both embraced many of the messages of the culture, including accepting the idea that contraception use, even among people in high school, was just fine. We took the “better safe than sorry” approach and assumed that sexually transmitted diseases were something primarily occurring in high-risk communities among certain populations, mainly those in urban areas where access to birth control and so-called “comprehensive sex education” was extremely limited.

We were both sadly mistaken. I found this out through my own study and personal challenges. Meeker became acutely aware of the ongoing problems associated with the contraceptive mentality as she was dealing with a rapidly growing number of teens — and in affluent neighborhoods, at that — coming to her with crisis pregnancies and a variety of STDs. Her increasing caseload led to her own research and reversion to Christ as well as a new career in trying to raise awareness about God’s plan being the best plan, including his plan for the gift of human sexuality.

That’s why Meeker and I spent a great deal of time on my radio show recently informing Catholic parents about a new alarming “guide” released a few weeks ago by the International Planned Parenthood Federation. “Exclaim!” was presented to a U.N. youth conference at the end of July and “exclaims” that children as young as 12 have “sexual rights” that need to be protected. Young people, according to the IPPF, should be “empowered” to discover their sexuality. And guess what, Mom and Dad? IPPF says you should basically butt out when it comes to your children’s decisions about their sexual identity and activity.

I am sure Meeker wishes that the geniuses who wrote “Exclaim!” could sit in her office as she tries to gently tell teens the bad news: that the STD they contracted could very well render them infertile or greatly increase their risk of getting certain types of cancer. Better yet, let Planned Parenthood explain to these young people why its organization never told them the truth about the emotional and physical fallout from embracing their “sexual rights.” Would the IPPF also be so quick to promote a teen or tween’s “right” to drink, smoke or get behind the wheel at 12 or 13 years old? I don’t think so.

This type of agenda is making a bad situation even worse. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four sexually active teens will contract an STD before graduating high school. There are dozens of other statistics concerning this issue, enough to make your head spin. But suffice it to say instead of all the talk about “exclaiming,” IPPF should fess up and start explaining its real agenda. By promoting sex to younger people, it widens its customer base and creates more of a demand for contraception and abortion. The bottom line for Planned Parenthood, as we have seen in so many stories recently, is the bottom line, even if the money is earned off the innocence of young people.

Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.