Giving young girls access to the morning after pill will increase their promiscuity. That’s what Colombia’s senator Víctor Velásquez Reyes thinks and with him a lot more people, and it’s silly. In the meantime teenager pregnancies in Colombia keep being a big problem.It started all with presidential candidate Rafael Pardo‘s proposal to give young girls access to the morning after pill through their school. A proposal which was supported by feminists, by big part of his Liberal Party and even by part of his political opponents, the uribistas. But which of course caused a lot of rejection, to start with Catholic Church. It said the morning after pill is an abortion pill.
Unfortunately the discussion concentrated on the morning after pill and that it would be used like candies and nobody mentioned the other issue which was proposed by mr. Pardo: improve sexual education, and that is where it all starts.
If boys and girls learn that sex is not a bad thing, that they should respect eachother in their sexuality and that they should both assume the responsibility to prevent pregnancy, a lot can be solved. The morning after pill and abortion will not (or at least less) be necessary.
Now let’s get back to mr. Velásquez. His argument, that the morning after pill will increase promiscuity, is also used by the church and other conservatives, to alert against sexual education and contraception. How sad, because reality proves that young girls (and boys) have sex anyhow, without education, without contraceptives, or with education and with contraceptives. Isn’t this last situation a lot better?
My thesis is that mr. Velásquez is an example of the still strong machismo in this country, which fears promiscuity of the woman. If the woman can plan her fertility she is free and that is unthinkable for mr. Velásquez and his friends. Then the Colombian woman will behave like the Colombian man! It is about time that happens, I would think. But it is better that couples look for their pleasure inside the house and not outside.
My point is that this way of thinking has to be finished, to stop this awful phenomenon, which is increasing: one out of five pregnancies in Colombia is a teenager pregnancy.
And then one last thing for mr. Velásquez and the Catholic Church. In 2003 with a Dutch colleague I did an item on teenager pregnancies in Bogotá for a Dutch radioprogramme. We talked to a 13 year old pregnant girl who had found out that five more girls were pregnant from the father of her child, who moreover was twice the age of the girls. Who is promiscuous here and acting completely irresponsible?