Teen ParentsThe Sun article June 9 headlined "Growing rate...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 19, 1994

Teen Parents

The Sun article June 9 headlined "Growing rate of U.S. teen pregnancy has sweeping implications" reports that the rate of teen pregnancy is still on the rise and that the government does not know how to stop it, except to provide more "early education."

It is absurd to me and most people who live or work in cities that the government can't see the obvious solution: Stop paying teen-agers to have babies and you will see less teen pregnancy.

The point that the government and we all must understand is that teens make immature decisions, and it is up to the adults to make them responsible for their actions.

To a 15-year-old, $300 to $400 a month sounds like a lot of money. They fail to think through the implications of their pregnancy, and see only the short range rewards. This is natural for their age.

Furthermore, teen-agers are striving to prove their independence from their family. What better way than to get pregnant, be deemed an emancipated minor and get control of what seems to them to be a lot of money?

I have seen mothers talk until they are blue in the face trying to convince their teen-ager not to get pregnant, to no avail. The teen practically laughs in her mother's face.

This happens even if the mother herself was a teen parent and tries to say, "Don't do what I did."

The teen can turn to the government as a surrogate parent and "prove" to her mother that she is, indeed, a grown-up.

The current welfare system totally undermines the authority of -- parents of teen-agers. Welfare interferes with the natural consequences of immature parenting.

By the time the girl is old enough to realize how much teen pregnancy has hurt her and her child, she is deeply entrenched in a dependent system that is difficult to escape.

The solution is far simpler than the government is willing to admit. Eliminate welfare for anyone under 21.

If a minor has a baby, then the financial responsibility should fall on her parents. The teen and her parents should have joint custody until the teen is 21, married or can prove financial independence.

If the teen is eligible for welfare benefits, the check should be issued in the name of her parents or a suitable guardian.

If the teen or her parents are receiving any government support, then they must enter a program of education or job training to insure that they become independent.

If the teen's parent or suitable guardian is not available, then a government-appointed ombudsman should control the finances.

It is ridiculous to hand a 15-year-old a monthly check for hundreds of dollars and think that the money will be spent wisely.

So stop paying teen-agers to get pregnant, and stop undermining the authority of parents.

If you don't think that a restrictive program like this would deter teen pregnancy, then you don't know how teen-agers think. Let's stop hand-wringing and do something.

Dana S. Simpler, M.D.

Baltimore

Mormons

Thank you for your June 5 editorial, "Mormans on the March."

Many articles written nowadays about us Mormans are biased and uninformed. You gave us a fair perspective.

Suzanne Anderson

Conowingo

No Class

No class, no style. If you are going to fiddle with the judicial system, at least do it with a flair or at a minimum, get the story straight.

DTC In a recent discussion the question was asked, "Why did a plaintiff file suit in Baltimore against a large multinational corporation whose head office is in Europe, involving actions occurring outside the Maryland?" The response was, "Simple, Baltimore is not considered to have a sophisticated judicial system."

Now it is clear, if you can't get your way in court, arrange to have some phone calls made to City Council members who will then intercede with the judicial system which in turn will change procedures.

Did any of the council members at the meeting consider the ramifications of such blatant intervention? It would seem to me this is a double edge sword and can cut both ways -- for and against. Is this what Baltimore wants and needs?

To complicate the story, it is not clear who and how many council members were at the meeting with Judge Joseph Kaplan and what was discussed. It would be funny, if it weren't so bad.

A test of character for the council members who intervened would be to state now they will categorically refuse to accept the city comptroller's position, should it become vacant.

Judge Kaplan's greatest moment would be to announce he will not run for re-election.

Frank R. Reilly

Baltimore

School Discipline

The June 12 Perspective article ''Black Students Suspended More than Whites: Why?'' appears to avoid specifics.

Are we comparing apples with apples or apples with oranges? To put it another way, the article does not tell the cause for punishment. Are white students guilty of identical misconduct but receiving only token reprimands, or is the severity of black student misconduct greater, warranting severe treatment?

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