ANST - Re: Condom Meral Dilemma

Mark Harris mark_harris at
Wed Jul 23 13:07:21 PDT 1997


Thank you for speaking out.

Stefan li Rous

Date: 7/22/97 9:29 PM
To: Mark Harris
From: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
Greetings All:

  OK, the moral dilemma has actually forced me to delurk.  As a physician,
I can tell you that if any of your children come to me requesting
information and supplies relation to birth control, I will give it to them
without hesitation.  I will test and treat them for any and all STD's, I
will give them condoms and other birth control devices.  I will also
counsel them against their chosen course of action, show them whatever
pictures I have at hand to help them understand the seriousness of
pregnancy and STD's.  Abstinence is clearly best.  The number of pregnant
teenagers I am currently caring for is, however, a persuasive argument
that teenagers are not practicing abstinence out there, and I will do what
I can to prevent any more of them from getting pregnant or infected.  It
is true that minors cannot consent to medical treatment, **except**
treatment of or relating to STD's and pregnancy.  In every state, I
believe, these are rights of minors.  When parents request copies of
medical records, these portions of the records are not given out unless
the child consents to this.  If you ask, beg, cajole, threaten legal
action, etc., I will not tell you if your teenager is being treated for
these things.  I can't.  I will encourage you to talk to them, regardless
of whether or not I am treating them.  The best way to prevent teenagers
from having intercourse, protected or otherwise, is to start talking about
it long before they become teenagers.  Even then, it may not work. 
Sometimes the best we can hope for is that they will at lest fasten their
seatbelt before they see just how fast the engine can go.

  Now, as a physician, I get a certain amount of protection from irate
parents in my dispensing of condoms, etc.  The average chirurgeon may not
be so protected.  I don't know, I'm not a lawyer.  Morally speaking, if
two teenagers are seeking condoms, I have no problems giving them out.  On
my darker days I might even cheer at the evidence of some measure of
forethought and responsibility.

Mary Teresa Hathaway
mka Michelle Hall, MD


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