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  1. 1

    Premarital pregnancy and native opinion. A note on social change.

    Schapera I

    Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. 1933 Jan; 6(1):59-89.

    In his recent writings on the subject of marriage and kinship, Malinowski has repeatedly emphasized what he terms the 'principle of legitimacy'. By this he means the rule, found in all human societies, that a woman has to be married before she is allowed legitimately to conceive. 'Roughly speaking, an unmarried mother is under a ban, a fatherless child is a bastard. This is by no means only a European or Christian prejudice; it is the attitude found amongst most barbarous and savage peoples as well.' Where prenuptial intercourse is regarded as illicit and immoral, marriage is obviously the essential prelude to the birth of legitimate children, i.e. children having full social status in the community. But even where prenuptial intercourse is tolerated, this tolerance does not extend to liberty of conception. The unmarried boys and girls may indulge freely in sex, but there must be no issue. An unmarried mother will be subjected to punishment and become the object of scorn, her child possibly killed or aborted, while often the putative farther is also penalized unless he marries the girls. Almost universally, a child born out of wedlock has a different status from the legitimate offspring, usually very much to his disadvantage. Facts such as these show that the group of mother and child is considered in the eyes of the community, and that the sociological position of husband and father is felt to be indispensable. (excerpt)
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  2. 2

    American public opinion toward sex education and contraception for teenagers.

    Reichelt PA

    [Unpublished] 1981. Presented at the Fifty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, New York, March 28-April 1, 1981. 14 p.

    Approximately 1.3 million teenage pregnancies result from the pervasive sexual activity which majority of teenagers aged 15-19 indulge in today. Adolescent pregnancy and childbirth has adverse health, psychosocial and economic effects for both adolescent parents and their children. Analysis of the trend in American public opinion toward sex education and contraception using data from the American Institute of Public Opinion (the Gallup Organization) shows that majority of the public have always favored sex education for teenagers and are almost as approving of specifically providing birth control information as part of the sex education. (Compared to Census data, Gallup samples of approximately 1500 cases have generally been found to be representative of age, sex, race and geographic area groupings; the 95% sampling tolerance for the samples is within 3% in either direction). There is also a generally upward trend in approval of providing contraception for teenagers. Since 1972, most Americans have approved of contraceptive services for teenagers. The favorable public opinion toward sex education and contraception is brought about by: 1) mass media exposure of the subject of teenage sexuality, 2) establishment of teenager programs by opinion leaders, and 3) recent recognition by courts of the rights of minors, including access to fertility control services on their own consent. Inspite of favorable public opinion however, current poliby concerning sex education and adolescent contraceptive services does not reflect public support. Only 30 states have policies expressly addressing sex education in schools, and even these policies do not reflect strong commitment to such instruction. Thus, most students do not receive sex education and over half of the teenage population at risk of unplanned pregnancy is not receiving contraceptive services. Half of initial premarital pregnancies by teenagers occur in the first 6 months of sexual activity. Thus, adolescent sex education programs must reach young people of both sexes before they begin sexual activity. Accessibility is the most important determinant of contraceptive use by teenagers. Provision of more and better teenage contraceptive services and sex education should be an important policy goal of the American people.
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