I winced at reading Rob Port’s January 2 column scolding social conservatives for not supporting North Dakota State University’s new “Junk Mail” initiative, which aims to curb unplanned pregnancy through mailing students free “safe-sex” education and prophylactics.
My unrest isn’t so much that Port called out pro-lifers for not backing this program, despite fervently disagreeing with it and him. I’m more troubled that so many can’t see the forest through the trees. As a mother and wife, woman of faith and child of God, I feel wholly discouraged, because this scenario has “we’ve completely failed our youth” all over it.
What grieves me most is Port’s assumption that unmarried couples “need” sexual intimacy. He begins by minimizing the effects of abortion-restriction laws, likening them to certain laws on drugs and alcohol. Illegalization of these substances only leads to black markets, he says, since people “want and need” these drugs and will find a way to obtain them somehow.
The “Junk Mail” program bets on “education” and “safe sex” as the solutions to lowering unplanned pregnancy. Again, going with their and Port’s logic, we must accept as fact that people “want or need” abortion, and, preceding that, to be sexually active outside of marriage.
The initiative will fail, firstly because it sends the wrong message. “People are going to drive fast so let’s increase the speed limit” is an apt parallel. (I can see the accidents already.) And like the drug-abuse crisis, it doesn’t even begin to address the “whys.” Why do people “need” drugs? Why do unmarried couples “need” to be sexually active? We’re starting with the wrong premise.
In truth, we’re dealing with an epidemic of broken relationships, porn addiction, and a devastating mindset of use versus love. It is a crisis of men and women engaged in sexual intimacy before making themselves irreplaceable to one another through the bonds of marriage, along with any children who might result.
What if, instead of throwing condoms and pills at young people, we reaffirmed the primary reason for sexual intimacy – to bear children? What if we returned to teaching our youth that the purpose of dating is to find a spouse? What if we didn’t scoff at couples marrying before obtaining their graduate degrees?
Remember this? “Bobby and Janie sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Billy in a baby carriage.” The childhood song might seem elementary, but it contains prudent wisdom. Cultivating a culture with an appreciation for this proper order of love would offer an enduring solution, exponentially more effective and satisfying than a pack of condoms.
Rightly ordered relationships bring comfort and safety to couples, along with children who know they’ve been loved and wanted from the beginning and feel assured their parents are committed to each other and them.
Despite how far away we’ve gotten from this beautiful vision, our youth deserve to know this reality. They’re worth our true, considerate caring, not just careless condoms.
NOTE: The following links will bring you to another written response from Rob Port that followed this column, as well as two podcasts that focused that week on the topic of my column:
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Jan. 19, 2020.]