Rx for Adolescents: Premarital Abstinence

Author: James H. Ford, M.D.


By James H. Ford, M.D. Vice-President Emeritus American Life League, Inc.

A Resolution Adopted By the California Medical Association Feb. 14, 1984 And By the American Medical Association June, 1984

Dr. James H. Ford is a family physician in private practice in Downey, California. In 1983, he presented an earlier version of the present resolution to the California Medical Association, but it was rejected. Some 10,000 copies of that earlier resolution were printed by American Life Lobby. They were circulated in California and around the world, as concerned parents and pro- life leaders took the initiative to promote sensible, moral behavior. When proposed again in the California Medical Association's 1984 meeting, the resolution was adopted as policy. It was then carried on to the American Medical Association's House of Delegates, where it was again adopted as policy by the AMA. Though it is clear that neither of these associations have adhered to their own adopted resolutions, it is equally clear that on the tenth anniversary of these resolutions they are more pertinent than ever before.


My dear friends,

Premarital abstinence is the ideal social policy to reduce poverty, alienation, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and other social dislocations.

The material which you are about to read takes on a fresh relevance in light of the remarks of the immediate past vice president of the United States, Mr. Dan Quayle, with regard to "family values" during the 1992 presidential election.

In addition, the statements and documentation contained in resolution Whereas #11 through Whereas #15 (pages 9 and 11) make it clear that the California Supreme Court (Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County, 25 Cal. 3d 608, 601 P. 2d 572, November 1979) and the U.S. Supreme Court (March 23, 1981) have reaffirmed that public policy in favor of premarital abstinence for teens continues to be "the law of the land."

This U.S. Supreme Court decision was concurred in by Justices Rehnquist, Burger, Stewart and Powell. Furthermore, Justice Blackmun affirmed that California's statutory rape law (which Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were trying to overturn) is a "sufficiently reasoned and constitutional effort to control the problem of premarital pregnancy at its inception" (emph. added).

Blackmun also affirmed in this 1981 Supreme Court decision that California's statutory rape law is a "legislatively created tool which is addressed to important societal concerns," namely "the control and direction of young people's sexual activity."

It is my hope that the material provided here will provide you, the reader, with additional arguments for retrieving our schools, out of the hands of behaviorists, and back into the hands of traditional educators.

The resolution may be ten years old, but the problems we face are current and becoming more critical each and every day.

James H. Ford, M.D.


It is the tenth anniversary of a landmark resolution, authored by James H. Ford, M.D., a family practitioner from Downey, California. This resolution is unique because it supports abstinence, and also because it was adopted by the California Medical Association of February 14, 1984, and then by the American Medical Association in June of that same year.

Ten years later we have seen escalating rates of venereal disease among our youth, not to mention adolescent pregnancy and a desire among many in positions of authority to emphasize permissive sex instruction as a subject suitable to educational curricula while de-emphasizing the value of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Still, having said that, we celebrate the tenth anniversary of this historic resolution, with a new preface by its author and a renewed dedication to fight for rights of our children to be raised in a moral and God-fearing society where sex outside of marriage is once again viewed as what it really is: a sin against the laws of God.

Judie Brown, President American Life League, Inc.

(The California Medical Association's resolution appears below in boldface type. Dr. Ford's notes and comments on the resolution are interspersed in lightface type.)

California Medical Association Resolution 701-84 (adopted Feb. 11, 1984): "Premarital Abstinence: An Effective Preventive of Unwanted Pregnancy."

1. Whereas, there are some 1.5 million legal abortions performed by physicians in this country every year; and

"There were 1.55 million legal abortions in the U.S. in 1980 . . . Increases in the abortion rate, which was 30.0 per 1,000 live births in 1980, are slowing; if the trend continues, the abortion rate should stabilize this year." (Henshaw, S.K.; Forrest, J.D.; Sullivan, E.; Tietze, C.; "Abortion Services in the U.S., 1979-1980," Family Planning Perspectives, 14:1, Jan.-Feb. 1982, p. 5.)

2. Whereas, most of these abortions (about 80 percent) are sought to preclude the prospect of an out-of-wedlock birth; and

In 1980, the number of abortions among unmarried women was 1,234,010 (or 79.4 percent of the total) as compared with 319,880 abortions (or 20.6 percent of the total) among married women.

In the same year, the abortion rate (per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 years) was 49.7 among unmarried women, as compared with 11.3 among married women. In other words, the abortion rate was four times (300 percent) greater among unmarried as compared with married women.

In the same year, the percentage of pregnancies terminated by abortion was 64.9 percent among unmarried pregnant women (or a 650 percent greater rate) as compared with 9.8 percent of pregnancies aborted among married pregnant women. (Henshaw, S.K.; O'Reilly, K.; "Characteristics of Abortion Patients in the U.S., 1979-80." Family Planning Perspectives, 15:1, Jan.-Feb. 1983, table 4, p. 8)

3. Whereas, prevention as a solution to the problem of unwanted, untimely, or out-of-wedlock pregnancy is superior to abortion (which is frequently an unpleasant experience for the woman, and may also have significant physical, social, and emotional sequelae); and

"There probably is no psychologically painless way to cope with an unwanted pregnancy whether it is voluntarily interrupted or carried to term" (p. 88).

"Certain trends emerge from a review of the scientific literature on the mental health effects of abortion. Emotional stress and pain are involved in the decision to obtain an abortion, and there are strong emotions that surround the entire procedure" (p. 98).

"Medical complications associated with legal abortion may occur at the time of abortion (immediate), within 30 days following the procedure (delayed), or at some later time (late)" (p. 67). ("Legalized Abortion and the Public Health." Report of a study by Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., May 1975.)

4. Whereas, most of these abortions are sought in order to eliminate unwanted pregnancies, which often occur despite studied contraceptive efforts; and therefore, such abortions represent clear-cut instances of contraceptive failure; and

"It is well recognized by now that all contraceptive methods currently in use have serious drawbacks in their efficacy, safety and acceptability. The most effective methods, the pill and IUD, have side effects . . . which have been highly publicized. As a result contraceptive use . . . is imperfect because of existing methods, and because human beings, too, are imperfect. Nevertheless, the inadequacy of contraceptive technology is reflected in distressingly high rates of recourse to abortion." (Written testimony of Faye Wattleton before Denton Title X Hearings, March 31, 1981, p. 20. Faye Wattleton was president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and was testifying as the official spokesman for that organization.)

In addition, during the same Senate hearing, Wattleton admitted to Sen. Don Nickles that the high rate of repeat abortion is a reflection of contraceptive failure, which in turn is a reflection of the "shortcomings" in contraceptive technology:

Senator Nickles: ". . . Do you have any statistics on the number of people that come in to have an abortion for the second time?"

Wattleton: "I do not know what the statistic from our affiliates will be, but nationwide we are seeing a repeat rate of approximately 30 percent . . . "

Senator Nickles: "Does that say anything about your effectiveness as far as pregnancy prevention?"

Wattleton: "It certainly says a great deal about our effectiveness in terms of the pregnancy prevention technology that is available . . . The [contraceptive] failures that we do see is [sic] a reflection of the shortcomings in technology . . . Better technology would enable fewer to face an unwanted pregnancy."

(Testimony of Faye Wattleton before Denton Title X Hearings, March 31, 1981, pp. 76-77.)

5. Whereas, unmarried women as a group, especially when they are very young, have a much higher contraceptive failure rate than married women (and they suffer much greater, adverse, social and emotional consequences as a result of such contraceptive failure); and

"Contraceptive use is closely related to age, in that younger women are less likely to have practiced contraception at all, or if they have used some method, to have used it less carefully and consistently than older women" (p. 119).

"Teenage women constitute a special case, in that any pregnancy, be it terminated by abortion or by full-term birth, seems to increase the risk of prematurity in subsequent pregnancies" (J.K. Russell, 1974, p. 60). ("Legalized Abortion and the Public Health." IOM-NAS, May 1975, op. cit., "Whereas" No. 3.)

"The health, social and economic consequence of teenage pregnancy are almost all adverse. Pregnancies that end in abortion or miscarriage are, at the least, upsetting and sometimes traumatic to the pregnant woman" ("Teenage Pregnancy: The Problem That Hasn't Gone Away." The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1981, section 5, p. 28).

6. Whereas, many a young woman has become pregnant unexpectedly because she was deceived by a false promise of contraceptive protection (which was perceived, or inferred, to be foolproof); and

Zelnik and Kantner found in their study of teenage pregnancy that:

"Among those teenagers who, in 1976, had had at least one premarital pregnancy . . . fewer than one fourth had intended to become pregnant. At the same time, only one fifth of those who had not intended the pregnancy reported that they had been contracepting regularly to prevent it. (. . . This is perhaps a surprisingly low level of contraceptive practice among those who wish to avoid pregnancy . . .)

"[Of those] who had not intended to become pregnant and had been 'regularly' contracepting, 36 percent had used the pill . . . [While] 55 percent of nonusers [of contraceptives] had thought they were likely to become pregnant . . . [by comparison] most of those who had taken the pill did not think that there was a good chance they would become pregnant" (but they became pregnant any way) (emphasis added). (Zelnik and Kantner: "First Pregnancies to Women Aged 15 to 19; 1976 and 1971." Family Planning Perspectives, 10:1, Jan.-Feb. 1978, p. 14.)

Furthermore, according to a study by Dr. Laurie S. Zabin, vice-chairperson of the Alan Guttmacher Institute: Even among teenagers who are contracepting in the most ideal and consistent manner, with the most medically effective contraceptives, the minimum, theoretical, two-year-cumulative pregnancy risk is estimated to be 13.6 percent (Family Planning Perspectives, March-April 1981, p. 73).

By comparison, among teenagers who abstain consistently, the pregnancy risk is, quite obviously, and also quite strikingly, absolute zero!

7. Whereas, premarital abstinence is the only foolproof means of preventing unwanted, out-of-wedlock pregnancy (and incidentally, it thereby prevents, as well, the many kinds of social dislocation associated with such pregnancy); and

Furstenberg et al., speaking for the Alan Guttmacher Institute, point out that "only the most optimistic planners believe that family planning and sex education and contraceptive services by themselves will reduce adolescent births to an insignificant number . . . Given the many reservations that teenagers have about birth control, the ambivalent feelings that often accompany nonmarital sexuality, and the psychological propensity of many adolescents toward risk-taking, we may expect a substantial . . . rate of premarital pregnancy in years to come . . . Only good luck, coupled with an increase in research dollars, will give us a safe contraceptive method more suited to teenagers, for whom sex tends to be episodic and unexpected, than those currently available." (Furstenberg, F.F.; Lincoln, R.; Menken, J.; Teenage Sexuality, Pregnancy and Childbearing. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1981, "Overview," p. 14.)

8. Whereas, even though we are all quite aware that "abstinence" is seen as a joke word in some sectors of our society; it has, nevertheless, been strongly endorsed as a desirable and reliable health measure by others (e.g., the AMA); and

Efforts by some parents and church groups to encourage premarital abstinence among young people have been ridiculed by various spokesmen associated with other groups, calling themselves "the foremost agents of social change" in the area of sexual liberation. Such traditional efforts have been sarcastically disparaged as "exhortations" and "proscriptions." (Furstenberg et al., Teenage Sexuality, Pregnancy and Childbearing. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1981, "Overview," p. 15.)

9. Whereas, in 1974, the AMA (in Report T of the Board of Trustees) adopted as policy "the need to encourage the use of all practical . . . methods of prevention . . . of gonorrhea and other venereal diseases . . . including fidelity and continence in married couples and abstinence in unmarried individuals;" and

The American Medical Association's House of Delegates has developed policy positions that favor chastity as a prophylactic measure . . . The delegates endorsed 'abstinence' for single people and 'fidelity and continence' for married couples . . ." (News report: "AMA Says Chastity Can Avert Gonorrhea," Family Practice News, August 15, 1974. Note: "Continence" means "self- restraint," or the ability to refrain from some bodily activity.)

10. Whereas, "abstinence in unmarried individuals" could also be quite effective as a health measure in stemming the tide of unwanted out-of-wedlock pregnancies and abortions - if such abstinence were more frequently, vigorously and unequivocally encouraged by opinion leaders and authority figures in our society; and

Even Freud, although he felt that the mental mechanisms of denial and repression of impulses were harmful to the psyche, did not disparage the value of sublimation, or the conscious suppression of impulses. Freud also suggested that maturity was characterized by the ability to postpone gratification, and he clearly rejected immaturity, infantilism and narcissism as disvalues in the area of psychological adjustment and personal adaptability in life.

Therefore, even in terms of the Freudian ethic, many if not most of the young people who are currently addicted to a sexually active lifestyle are behaving not only immaturely, but perhaps, in a manner ultimately detrimental to their mental health.

These suggestions about the immaturity, confusion and the inadequacy of most adolescents is confirmed by their own statements as found in the Sorenson Report: Adolescent Sexuality in Contemporary America (1973). Although 76 percent of adolescents objected "when people think of [them] as an adolescent" and 83 percent resented it "when older people think of [them] as a child," quite incongruously, 73 percent of them agreed with the statement "I'm not a child anymore, but I'm not an adult yet, either." Furthermore, 61 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls admitted that they still "think and act somewhat like a child."

And 47 percent of adolescents admitted that they would have a hard time going out into the world on their own, and 37 percent think of themselves as children because there are a lot of things that they still can't do on their own. Then, 36 percent of boys and 27 percent of girls agreed with the statement "The way I'm living right now, most of my abilities are going to waste."

Furthermore, 50 percent of non-virgin adolescents worried about whether God would approve of their sexual activity; 54 percent believed that some of their sexual activities were probably harmful to their relationship with their parents.

Then, 28 percent of non-virgin adolescents believed that some of their sexual activities were harmful to them; 34 percent said: "Sometimes I think that I am addicted to sex the way some people are addicted to drugs." Then, 58 percent of non-virgin adolescents agreed: "When it comes to sex, a lot of young people these days do the things they do just because everyone else is doing it"; but paradoxically, 54 percent agreed: "My sexual behavior would not be acceptable to society."

Then, 46 percent of all non-virgins agreed: "Having sex helps take my mind off some of the bad things that happen to me." And 52 percent of older boys, and 74 percent of older girls, agreed that some boys use sex to reward or punish their girl friends. And 71 percent of the older boys and 74 percent of the older girls agreed that some girls use sex to reward or punish their boyfriends. This frequent misuse of sex, and the nonsexual motivation in much of adolescent sexual behavior, was also noted by Cohen and Friedman ("Nonsexual Motivation of Adolescent Sexual Behavior," Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, Sept. 1975). They found that adolescents often have ego and identity problems. Those who feel inadequate and unacceptable often engage in sexual activities to gain peer approval.

Cohen and Friendman also noted that adolescents use sexual activities to rebel against parents and to "get even" with them for real or imagined grievances. Adolescents were also found to use sexual activities or pregnancy to escape from a life situation or to get away from home. They also found that sexual activities could be a cry for help, a search for love or an act of self-destruction. They concluded: ". . . It appears likely that the pattern of resolving non-sexual conflicts is detrimental to the development of true intimate interpersonal relationships in adolescents and young adults."

In this context, it is worth noting that several studies have demonstrated a high degree of correlation among young people between deviant premarital sexual activity and other forms of deviant behavior, such as drug abuse. (1) Vener, A.M., and Stewart, C.S., "Sexual Behavior in Middle America Revisited: 1970-73," Journal of Marriage and Family, Nov. 1974. (2) Jessor, S.L., and Jessor, R., "Transition From Virginity to Nonvirginity Among Youth," Developmental Psychology, 11:4, 1964.

11. Whereas, the current statutory rape law of California makes it a crime for a male of any age to have sexual intercourse with a female under 18 years of age who is not his wife - even with the girl's consent, and

A publication of the Alan Guttmacher Institute (research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America) corroborates the statement to the effect that "the California statutory rape law . . . makes it a crime for a male of any age to have sexual intercourse with a female under 18 who is not his wife." ("A Review of State Laws and Policies," Family Planning/Population Reporter, 10:1, Feb. 1981, p. 1.)

12. Whereas, the self-evident purpose of this law is to encourage (even if only indirectly) premarital abstinence among teenage girls - ergo, this goal is a long-established public policy in this state; and 13. Whereas, in November 1979, the California Supreme Court affirmed this ongoing state policy by upholding the constitutionality of our current statutory rape law on the ground that the law serves a compelling state interest in preventing pregnancies among unmarried adolescent girls" (Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma County, 25 Cal. 3d 608, 601 P. 2d 572); and

This information is taken from the same Alan Guttmacher Institute publication cited above.

Furthermore, the California Supreme Court concluded (in the same decision) that "the changeless physical law, that only females become pregnant, coupled with the tragic human cost of illegitimate teenage pregnancies, generates a compelling and demonstrable state interest in minimizing both the number of such pregnancies and their disastrous consequences" (emphasis added). (Family Planning/Population Reporter, 10:1, Feb. 1981, p. 1.)

14. Whereas, on March 23, 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court (in support of the aforementioned California Supreme Court ruling) also upheld the constitutionality of the statutory rape law in this state - ergo, current public policy in favor of premarital abstinence for teenagers is, in fact, still "the law of the land" in this nation; and

This information, also, is taken from the same Alan Guttmacher Institute publication cited above.

The U.S. Supreme Court held "that a statutory rape law that penalizes an underage male, but not his female partner, for sexual intercourse outside of marriage is a valid way for the state to discourage pregnancies among unmarried adolescents."

The Court also said: "Since only females can become pregnant and therefore alone suffer the problems and risks associated with pregnancy, a statutory rape law that treats males and females differently is constitutional."

Furthermore, Justice Rehnquist, writing for himself and Chief Justice Burger and Justices Stewart and Powell, said that the state had a strong interest in preventing teenage pregnancy.

He added: "At the risk of stating the obvious, teenage pregnancies, which have increased dramatically over the last two decades, have significant social, medical and economic consequences for both the mother and her child, and the state. Of particular concern to the state is that approximately half of all teenage pregnancies end in abortion. And of those children who are born, their illegitimacy makes them likely candidates to become wards of the state."

Rehnquist also noted that young men and young women are not similarly situated with respect to the problems and risks of sexual intercourse. "Because virtually all of the significant harmful and inescapably identifiable consequences of teenage pregnancy fall on the young female, a legislature acts within its authority when it elects to punish only the participant who, by nature, suffers few of the consequences of his conduct."

Rehnquist also suggested that the risk of becoming pregnant constitutes a substantial deterrence to young females. But he pointed to the fact the "no similar natural sanctions deter males. A criminal sanction imposed solely on males thus serves to roughly 'equalize' the deterrents on the sexes." (Family Planning/Population Reporter, 10:2, April 1981, p. 19.)

15. Whereas, Justice Blackmum made the implications of statutory rape laws even more explicit by stating that California's law is a "sufficiently reasoned and constitutional effort to control the problem (of premarital pregnancy) at its inception," and that the law is a legislatively created tool which is addressed to important societal concerns; i.e., "the control and direction of young people's sexual activity;" and

This information was also derived from the Alan Guttmacher Institute publication cited above. (Family Planning/Population Reporter, 10:2, April 1981, p. 19.)

16. Whereas, the social supports which fortify the morale and resoluteness of those attempting to adhere to the traditional norm of premarital abstinence are being ever more seriously eroded by the mixed messages and double-talk being sent out continuously on this subject from some highly respected and socially impeccable segments of our society; and

The Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) in its pamphlet "Teensex" tells teenagers that "it's okay to say no way." But, although PPFA admits that saying "No" isn't easy, and tells teenagers that premarital coitus "may" even have "sad results," the ambiguous language used by PPFA in most of its discussion on the subject of self-restraint tends to subvert, in advance, any possible resolution the ambivalent teenagers might decide to make in favor of saying "No." It does this by leaving with the teenage reader the distinct impression that it is equally "okay" to say "Yes" - when you are "ready to," or "want to," or "decide to" (PPFA pamphlet No. 1592).

In a related but probably contradictory ploy, spokesmen for the Alan Guttmacher Institute (research arm of PPFA) tell us that "in order to avoid corrupting the young and sexually inexperienced, sexual information too often is not given to the teenager until it is too late to prevent the first pregnancy" (p. 15).

In order to remedy this flaw in their teenage fertility-control program, these spokesmen suggest that premarital coitus be treated as the norm (p. 14), and that "society will have to make the difficult decision to transmit the knowledge and the means of pregnancy prevention to all teenagers - not just those known to be sexually active. There is the chance that some, thereby, may be encouraged to experiment with sex somewhat earlier than they would have done otherwise . . ." (p. 15). They further suggest that family planning programs be made "more accommodating to the adolescent lifestyle" (p. 15).

(It should be noted here that such policy not only discriminates against those who are trying to abstain and in favor of those who have no desire to resist temptation, but it also heavily loads the choice, in every way, in favor of saying "Yes" to premarital coitus.)

Finally, these same spokesmen admit that "even the most dedicated proponents of widespread contraceptive information and availability for teenagers are aware that their efforts may promote sexual activity, even while they are reducing pregnancy among the sexually active . . . " (p. 21). (Furstenberg et al., Teenage Sexuality, Pregnancy and Childbearing, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1981.)

17. Whereas, we see too few of our opinion leaders, nowadays, applauding the ideal of self-mastery, or suggesting that we encourage such an ideal in our young people; and

As physicians who are concerned with advancing the public health in the areas of pregnancy-prevention and mental health, we would be acting in the finest tradition of our profession, and would be promoting the best health interests of our patients (and the citizenry at large) if we were to give strong encouragement to those who are struggling, in a spirit of exemplary excellence, to sublimate their sexual impulses and to postpone gratification in the hope of attaining a healthier, happier and more stable future in a marital relationship.

18. Whereas, there also appears to be a crying need to promote a return to greater decency and sanity (and a corresponding need to discourage the worsening trend toward sexploitation) in male-female relationships; and

Media periodicals and reports are replete with stories about the escalating intensity of hostilities, disillusionments and disenchantment in relationships between the sexes. For example, a recent report in U.S. News & World Report (Feb. 21, 1983) tells about the frustration and disillusionment that exist within the nonmarital relationships among the 19 million "singles" that now reside in this country. "Later marriage and more divorces are fast swelling the ranks of Americans living alone - an experience that seems to be liberating for some - but depressing for others."

In a similar vein, reports about the sexploitation going on between the sexes continue. Such reports, even when limited to the medical literature, are too numerous to cite adequately in any reasonably brief summary of the current situation.

In 1967, a University of Wisconsin psychiatrist pointed out that the promiscuity which was occurring as a result of the new permissiveness had had a disastrous effect on the mental health of many female college students.

He pointed out that young women had not only been victims of the exploitative behavior of their male companions but also of their own self-deception. He called these young women "casualties of the sexual revolution." (Halleck, S.L., "Sex and Mental Health on the Campus," JAMA, 200:8, May 22, 1967, p. 108.)

Since then, the situation has obviously become much worse. A more recent study documents the same complaint, i.e., that many college women have been flagrantly exploited by their sex partners. (Weis, D.L., "Reactions of College Women to Their First Coitus," Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, 17:2, Feb. 1983, p. 60cc.)

In 1974, a poll of 15,000 family physicians and psychiatrists revealed that many if not most of them believed that the new morality and the sexual revolution had created a moral climate that has been, on balance, harmful to the physical and mental well-being of their patients; and furthermore, that this permissive climate had contributed significantly to an increased incidence of VD, rape, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. (Kirk, J., "Four Questions About Sex in Our Society," Medical Times, 102:11, Nov. 1974, p. 68.)

And relevant to the increasing levels of premarital coitus going on among our young people, a prominent demographer (Charles Westoff of Princeton) has suggested that "the future seems less and less compatible with long-term traditional marriage . . . there seems to be a massive postponement of marriage in the making . . .

"The intriguing question is whether we are witnessing a postponement of marriage, with an institutionalization of trial marriage, or a more basic change that will eventually alter the institution itself . . . There do not seem to be any forces in view that will reverse this trend. . . ." (Westoff, Charles, "Some Speculation on the Future of Marriage and Fertility," chapter 10, p. 155, as found in Furstenberg, et al. (ed.), Teenage Sexuality, Pregnancy and Childbearing, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1981.)

In this context, a leading Columbia University sociologist has warned that"at the present accelerating rate of depletion, the United States will run out of families not long after it runs out of oil . . . Depending on one's assumptions about how this accelerating disintegration of the family will progress, the U.S. will not have a married household left a generation or so from now.

"This is not to be taken as a prediction; it simply projects a past trend into the future at the same rate of acceleration. The projection suffices, however, to show that the family is an endangered species, which it may require a conscious, collective effort to save - as part of our social ecology. Clearly, if this decline (in family formation and stability) is not to continue, some powerful forces will have to intervene to reverse the trend." (Etzioni, Amitai, "Science and the Future of the Family," Science, 196:4289, April 1977.)

19. Whereas, a recent poll reveals (despite the alleged inroads of the sexual revolution) that most American women not only believe in premarital abstinence as a good policy and a desirable norm, but also strongly disapprove altogether of premarital sex; and

A recent poll by Glamour magazine found that 51 percent of the women polled considered premarital sex to be "unacceptable." Furthermore, only 20 percent "strongly agreed" that it was acceptable. This story was reported not only by UPI (L.A. Times, Dec. 19, 1982) but also by AP (Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Dec. 14, 1982).

There have been other polls with similar results. In 1976, a National Opinion Research Center poll found that almost 70 percent of adult Americans believed that intercourse outside marriage is "always wrong" (News item: Sexual Medicine Today, May 1982, p. 5).

20. Whereas, in 1974, a Medical Times poll of 15,000 family physicians and psychiatrists showed a high level of agreement among them toward the view that the "new morality" and the "sexual revolution" had created a social climate which has been, on balance, harmful to the physical and mental well-being of their patients; and furthermore, that this permissive climate had contributed significantly to the increased incidence of VD, rape, unwanted pregnancies and abortions (and this was the scene 10 years ago; since then, these problems have become progressively more serious and widespread); and

(Kirk, J., "Four Questions About Sex in Our Society," Medical Times, 102: 11, Nov. 1974, p. 68.)

21. Whereas, neither the media, nor public agencies, nor concerned professional groups have as yet placed adequate emphasis on premarital abstinence as an important, preferred and readily available method of precluding unwanted, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and abortion; and

22. Whereas, in 1983, Reference Committee E-1 studied the antecedent (Res. 720-83) of this resolution, and concluded (apparently without any dissent) that "unwanted pregnancy, especially among teenagers, is a serious problem;" and that "it is appropriate for CMA to support through health education activities, teenagers who wish to resist peer pressure to engage in premarital sexual activities;" now, therefore be it

Resolved: That CMA recognize that premarital abstinence is an effective means of precluding unwanted pregnancy; and be it further

Resolved: That CMA suggest that the media, appropriate public agencies, and all concerned professional groups in their educational campaigns to the public, emphasize the effectiveness of premarital abstinence as a means of reducing the incidence of unwanted pregnancy; and be it further

Resolved: That this resolution be referred to the California Delegation to the AMA.

American Life League, Inc. P.O. Box 1350 Stafford, VA 22555 (703) 659-4171

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First printing: 1983 as a "draft" resolution, American Life Lobby

Second printing: 1984 as an "adopted" resolution, American Life Lobby

UPDATE: 1994, American Life League, Inc.

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