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It would seem somewhat cruel to prevent a woman from having some say over what to do with whatever goes on in her body. On the other hand, the optimal time to decide whether to have an abortion is not when a rapidly growing embryo has established a form of life. The decision to create a life should be made prior to that point. Unfortunately, this decision is treated in an all too cavalier manner by young and old alike.

The sex urge is arguably one of the strongest human desires – and it should be. Without it, humanity would not be able to procreate effectively, especially with all the activities that constantly vie for our attention. Many reject the conservative advocacy of abstinence and embrace the gratification that comes with sexual liberation.

The media pushes these exploits on various levels in commercials, mainstream films, music videos, men's and women's magazines (Maxim, Cosmopolitan), TV shows ("Sex in the City") and of course adult entertainment in its many manifestations. All of these emphasize the pleasure of sex. But what has not followed is a serious discussion of its possible consequences, leaving people at a definite disadvantage if the "unspeakable" occurs: pregnancy.

In some cases, such discussions are not actively encouraged, prompting young people to experiment for themselves. Those who enter college are expected to be sexually astute, if not already sexually active. The pleasures of sex are communicated to others through parties, discussions among friends, personal relationships and even the bathroom stalls. Until the fateful moment, many do not think of the consequences. And by then, it's often too late.

Added to this is the advent of effective condoms, which have substantially reduced the "risk" of unwanted pregnancy. With this protection also come feelings that encourage reckless actions and promiscuity. Many students think that they must "try it out," "be a man," "feel like a woman," "show that I love this person," "keep my reputation." Babies are only a passing thought, like a nightmare that has been banished to the inner recesses of the mind.

With this impunity comes a feeling that abortion is yet another option to prevent unwanted children. Our sexual freedoms increase, but our sense of responsibility over our own bodies decreases substantially. Therein lies the disturbing reality of freely exploring the limits of sexual pleasures.

In the past, the thought of having a baby scared many people into being extremely cautious about having intimate relations. Those who were not so cautious were looked upon, justly or not, as irresponsible hedonists. Today, we have the "morning-after" pill, the latex condom, the early-period abortion, the late-period abortion, and if carried to full term, the help of relatives in raising a child.

All kinds of excuses can be made for not taking care of pregnancies and children. Some are quite valid, such as forced intercourse. But the validity of other reasons is a little more doubtful, such as the fear that the child will be disadvantaged for life. While it is true that the attitude toward sex used to be highly oppressive and extremely uninformed, it seems that today's attitude has swung to the opposite direction, toward a loss of accountability and responsibility.

Today, relationships have become vehicles for people to go from one conquest to another. Now the challenge is trying to finding the biggest sexual organ, the most outrageous orgasm and the longest high. Many people even take "test drives" to see if someone is fit to spend their lives with; if the experience does not suit the person, then another person is sought, with no regard to the other's feelings.

The college freshman, who was at least somewhat controlled by the pressure of parents in high school, suddenly receives uninhibited freedom upon entrance into college. Among these freedoms is the lure of sex whenever and however one can get it. While many have been ingrained with values that erode somewhat slowly (if at all), others act as though they couldn't wait to "bust out of morality jail" and fling themselves into enjoying sexual liberty without thinking of the consequences.

Mind you, this is not saying that sex is wrong in itself. Sex is important for two reasons: procreation and the binding of two lives into one. If students follow these reasons for having sex, they can ensure responsible relationships and loving families. However, if students are not ready to start a family and/or enter into an intimate, lasting relationship, then sex is merely for the sake of pleasure. The results of this irresponsibility can have disastrous results for all involved.

Rather than waiting until conception to decide one's future, the discussion and choice should be made prior to committing the act that can conceivably decide our destiny. Before sex, choices exist; but after intercourse, the emotions at stake narrow the choice. Better to make that choice voluntarily before being forced into it by the presence of a growing life that – regardless of whether it lives or is aborted – will always contain a part of both creators.

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