September 1978

Adolescent Pregnancy—A National Priority

Author Affiliations

1436 Buckner St Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(9):937. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120340113030

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Sir.—Today, sexual activity has become a prime means of testing one's identity in contemporary adolescents. The significance of this arises from an earlier maturity in which secondary sex characteristics are forceful instigators in achieving one's potential. "Potential" is possibly a better descriptor than "adulthood," for the latter is clouded with contextual differences depending on whether a sociocultural, biophysiological, or psychological index is applied.

It is quite likely that the greatest problem attached to early coitus is not in the act itself but in the dichotomy of values that tend to sway the issue in a right-wrong sense. While it may well be necessary to second-guess the motivation to have sex, ie, requesting permission to be told "no," the problem of adolescent coitus and out-of-wedlock pregnancies are best approached on a continuum of human experience of not necessarily what (the act), but with whom (the person). At this point, a

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