One percent solution


Dear Readers:

The column about the young woman who ceased having sex with her boyfriend after being terrified (not to say terrorized) by the antiabortion displays on their college campus got a lot of responses, not entirely unexpectedly. This letter bore the subject line: "Stop degrading women for protecting themselves," which, well, wow. Don't spend much time on the Internet, do ya? If this woman thinks my mild dismissal counts as "degrading" women, then I do not think that word means what she thinks it means. Go Google "bukkake," honey, and then maybe we can talk.



Dear Andrea:

As a nurse, I was disgusted to have you dismiss using both the contraceptive pill and a condom as "borderline nutso overkill" for contraception purposes. When used absolutely perfectly, with no other drug, digestive, or weight considerations, the pill is at best only 99 percent effective. A 1 percent chance of getting pregnant should not be dismissed as "off-plumb." Patients on the pill can get pregnant even though they have not missed any pills, because every single factor that could decrease the pill's effectiveness has not been studied.

As for your comments about antiabortion displays as "assaultive theatrics": Why would these displays be offensive and disturbing to you if there was absolutely nothing wrong with terminating the life of a fetus?

In the future, you should refrain from describing women as "nutty" for trying to eliminate the 1 percent risk. I would describe them as empowered and intelligent for taking every measure to avoid conceiving a child they do not want.


Stop Degrading ...

Dear Stop:

Did you miss the fact that she wasn't "protecting herself" by using a condom plus the pill; she was refusing to have sex, period? To be fair, I didn't treat her previous insistence on doubling up birth control methods with the softest and supplest of kid gloves, but I did have my reasons. Would you like to hear them?

See, I talk to these kids constantly at San Francisco Sex Information, where I think the staff spends more time on these questions than they do at any other educational pursuit. "Can I get pregnant if I'm on the pill and he wore a condom and he didn't come in me?" "... if I'm on my period and we don't have intercourse but he rubs himself on my knee a little bit but doesn't come?" "... if we're in the hot tub and I'm on the pill and he's wearing a condom ...?"

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