updated 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/04/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Teen Sex
I want to commend you for your article on teen sex (PEOPLE, April 13). It was an excellent piece of responsible journalism. As a pro-life Christian, I have waited a long time to see an article of this caliber. There is an inconsistency between what we, as adults say—"Don't do it—"and what we allow to be everyday fodder on TV, radio, etc. There is such a vast gap that we have to take responsibility for it in honest, direct communication with our children. We parents are the ones, not organizations with ulterior motives, that should and have to be our children's source of information concerning sex. The pain and misery that is being generated today by irresponsible sex will be our legacy for generations to come. No one will walk away free from the mistakes we all have made.
Molly R. Warring
Kansas City, Mo.

Thank you for the article on teen sex and trying to be as frank as possible on this delicate subject. I hope that after reading it people will get their heads out of the sand and realize that teenagers are having sex and they are getting pregnant. I am 15 years old and tired of hearing people say that there should be no sex education in schools because it will only make the kids want to have more sex. I think those people just want to believe that if kids don't hear about it, they won't do it. By telling them the facts they'll be more aware of how to make decisions about birth control and protecting themselves against AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
Cynthia Adams
San Antonio

There are too many teenage girls in America who think that pregnancy could never happen to them—including me. My getting pregnant three months ago was the hardest thing my mother and I have experienced. When I first called long distance from college and told her, she was extremely disappointed in me and herself. She thought she had told me everything about sex. She did. But she left out the part that says unwanted pregnancies happen to good kids too. Abortion, regretfully, was my only choice at this time. I am using birth control now. But to all you teens out there, remember that an unwanted pregnancy can happen to the best of us. And if it does, trust and seek help from your parents. It's amazing how much they love you.
Name Withheld

The schools that refused your survey should be ashamed of themselves and so should the parents who ignore any sex discussion with curious teenagers. Parents are responsible for the ignorance or knowledge of their children. Without proper education, how can we expect a teenager to review and understand an important decision like sex? I feel better knowing my kids (step) understand that although sex may feel good, there are severe and lifelong results, and I know in the end any decision they make will be an educated one.
L. Church
Potterville, Mich.

Our daughter became pregnant at 14 while visiting a classmate. She had an abortion. One year later she became pregnant when a boy visited our home in our absence. Her baby was placed for adoption. She married at 17 and became pregnant at 19. At 20 she became pregnant by a man other than her husband. She then had a tubal ligation. Our other daughter, at 16, chose to ride her bike over five miles to Planned Parenthood. We did not fail our children but gave them open conversations and accurate information. We discussed the necessity of responsibility and love. Parents cannot be their children's keepers. No matter what has been instilled, children ultimately make their own decisions, and devastating can describe some of them.
Name Withheld Canoga Park, Calif.

Bill Britt
I am in my middle 30s, trying to raise three kids and support my family as best I can. The thought of leaving it all and letting them fend for themselves has never crossed my mind. I have a responsibility to them that I can't give up. I have no sympathy for Bill Britt, and I don't appreciate an article about someone who eats from dumpsters and is glamorized for it. Let's face it, the man is a bum. Treat him that way—that's how he wants it.
D.S. DeGramo
Weston, Mo.

"Loving my father means not trying to change him." If only the rest of the world were as wise as Ingrid Britt.
Leigh Johnson
Boulder, Colo.

Diane Joyce
Never has a story made me so furious and disgusted. Diane Joyce, the California road dispatcher, won her job only because she used the Santa Clara affirmative action representative to unseat the man who had performed better than she on objective tests. Joyce is correct in her assertion that she is not a heroine; her tactics demean other women's efforts to "get ahead" with training, hard work and solid qualifications. Joyce has set back women's fight for equality. Rather than enjoy respect for success achieved by our own efforts, we now can look forward to accusations of using our gender to reach our career goals. She is a blight on women's history whose actions will cause a regression of attitudes toward working women.
Kim M. Pierce
Madison, Wis.

When the most qualified individual is passed over for a job because of his sex, then we are all losers. Discrimination is discrimination whether it is against a black person or a white person, a man or a woman. The Supreme Court's decision is a step backward for civil rights.
Beverley M. Stout
Ridgecrest, Calif.

I am 25, a woman, college educated, a feminist and an advocate of equal rights. But I believe Joyce is wrong. Women strive for balance in the work force, but there must be a better way than by cheating men.
Wendy Tullis
Toledo, Ohio

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