The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

August 31, 2013

The Case of the Naive Teenager

BEREA — Peggy had a figure with more curves than a road map, and the boys just loved her and she loved them right back. Being as naïve as she was desirable, however, by the time she was 16-years-old, Peggy already had three children.

This, of course, unnerved her mother to the point that she finally decided to instruct her daughter on the various ways to avoid pregnancy. While she succeeded in reducing Peggy's chances of further visits from the stork, she also succeeded in attracting the attention of the authorities. She was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

“By teaching Peggy about birth control, Peggy's mother made it safer and thus more attractive for her daughter to engage in improper sex,” insisted the prosecuting attorney.

“Well, I had to do something,” responded Peggy's mother. “At the rate my daughter was being visited by the stork, she would've been in a worse pickle than the old lady who lived in a shoe and didn't know what to do. So I only did what I had to do.”

If you were the judge, would you send Peggy's mother to the slammer for contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

Here's what the judge ruled: No. The judge held that a state has no right to interfere with a mother's instructions on how to avoid conception before marriage. Such instruction, noted the judge, is part of a mother's constitutional right of free speech. Furthermore, it's her obligation as a parent to do so, he added.

Based on a 1965 Ohio Court of Appeals decision.

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