I was shopping for toiletries at Walmart one evening, and came across a young couple—a very young couple—browsing in the condom aisle. By their manner, you could see this type of outing was a novelty for them. They must not have been any older than 15. I could have picked them both up in my arms without breaking a sweat—they were so puny, so spindly and young. It was revolting to think of him taking any girl into his bedroom, so far was he from being anything like a man, with his googly eyes, his drooping pants, his acne. They were both giggling, shoving each other in a teasing, panicked way, the way kids do when they’re making dares.
I wanted to tell the girl: Do you know that you don’t have to do this? Has anyone ever told you that you don’t have to? Foolish girl, don’t throw yourself into that darkness! You may not think you have anything else to offer, but you do, you do! Save your poor body; save your poor heart. You don’t have to do this.
I wish I had said something. At the very least, I could have creeped them out so much that their evening would have been ruined. But I just put my head down and swerved my cart away to the next aisle, where souls weren’t being lost before my very eyes.
I wish I had said something. I’m not that old. I can still remember that a girl who looks very hard, very sophisticated and bold in sexy clothes and elaborately made up eyes is still just a little girl, no matter how dirty she acts or how cold or sassy she talks. Teenage girls want security, above all. They want back-up. They want to know that they’re not alone, and that they’re not weird for feeling scared. What they need is for someone to give them permission to say no.
Teenagers don’t want to be told, “You’re in charge—you know what’s best for you.” The one thing that teenagers know, deep down, is that they don’t know anything—and that thought is dreadful. They don’t want someone to say, “Say, you look like you’re already in way over your head, so let me shove you even deeper down!” But that is what Planned Parenthood does every minute of every day: they hold out a helping hand to struggling girls, and then they fling them forward into the abyss.
Girls, especially poor girls, are flooded with birth control. If you’re hooked into social services at all, it’s everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. In nearly any venue that a teenage girls can be expected to turn up, there are posters, pamphlets, commercials and cute little giveaways designed to help a teenager “protect” herself.
And the message is: You have to be having sex. Everyone is having sex. It’s not normal not to be having sex. Look at all these devices we can jam into you: there is no EXCUSE for you not to be having sex. That’s what the contraceptive culture does: it takes away the last excuse a typical, non-religious girl has for saying “No” to her boyfriend. What a friend we have in Planned Parenthood!
Now imagine if Planned Parenthood put all their millions, all their efforts, all their advertising savvy, and all their self-righteous passion into telling girls: You know, you don’t have to do this. This boy out there in the waiting room: You don’t have to let him take your clothes off. You know you don’t have to, right? Tell this boy you don’t want to. Tell him to go away. We will help you. We’re on your side. Here is an escort in an orange vest: She will help you get past him. She will take you back to your mother’s house. She will pick you up at the library, she will make sure you go to bed at night, she will listen to you without texting her friends at the same time, and she won’t make you do anything weird.
I know it’s more complicated than that. I know that teenagers have sex for a thousand, thousand reasons, and there is no organization, government-subsidized or otherwise, that can make up for a disfunctional family, a disordered culture, a race fractured by original sin.
But can you imagine if, with all their power and sway, they even tried?