USA Today Face-Off: New Birth Control Methods; Is Norplant the Answer? Charmaine Debates Julianne Malveaux



Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D.

Julianne Malveaux has been appointed President of Bennett College for Women.

Alert Readers will recall that Malveaux called President Bush a “terrorist” and that our America is “a terrorist nation.”

And that she wished that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would die. “The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person.”

Among her many awards is the Media Research Center’s I’m a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award.

Dr. Cornel West says she’s “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country.” Dr. Maya Angelou, a member of the board of trustees, gushes, “…[W]e are made steady with the arrival of Dr. Julianne Malveaux…! We will all be uplifted, informed, and increased by your presence…”

(…Increased by your presence…? What does that mean?

Somebody’s got to clear the Mayan quotes.)

Julianne Malveaux. Perfect for the Academy. May your presence be increased.

Charmaine tangled with this presence in the last millennium over, what else?, sex. In a point-counter-point column in USA Today over Norplant.

Face Off: New Birth Control Methods.

New Contraceptive Is No Magic Bullet

By Charmaine Yoest

Guest columnist

WASHINGTON – She is only 13, but she has had 8 sexual partners. A recent article in People magazine didn’t report what she was looking for, but it does say what she got: chlamydia and a diary of memories. And what she didn’t: after a few romantic trips to Burger joints, all eight are now long gone.

Should we worry that she might get pregnant? Absolutely. Is the long term contraceptive, Norplant, the answer? Absolutely not. Pregnancy is the most visible result of pre-marital sex, but it may not be the worst.

Sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers are increasing alarmingly. [From 1986 to 1990] syphilis among teenagers increased 62%. Planned Parenthood research shows that unwed teenagers using contraceptives more often with more partners. Of sexually active teens, 58% report two or more partners.

Knowing this, in the age of AIDS, we cannot continue promoting contraceptives as the answer to teen sexuality. That’s a Band-Aid approach. Norplant may slow the tragic increase in teen pregnancy. But at what price?

The American Psychological Association reported [in 1990] that women experience more depression than men. A leading cause? infertility. Sexually transmitted diseases are a common cause of infertility. How many of those women, infertile from sexual experimentation, would trade today those transient experiences of the past for the thrill of holding their new born?

More Malveaux at the jump.


Thank you (foot)notes:

This article originally ran on Tuesday, December 11, 1990. USA Today. Little has changed in Charmaine’s argument. Truth is unchanging.

Transcribing credit to The Dude and The Dreamer from the Penta-Posse. This is what your parents think.

Another 13-year-old agreed with a counselor that she shouldn’t be sexually active. Why? “Because I might get pregnant or get a disease,” she replied. She could think of no other reason.

As adults, we’re responsible for articulating those reasons. “Free sex” has a price – broken hearts, complicated relationships and lifetime regrets. For married couples, Norplant is a welcome medical advance. But for unwed teenagers, the truth must be communicated forcefully: there’s more to sex than avoiding pregnancy and disease. Teenagers trifling with sex risk their future capacity for bonding.

Breaking those powerful sexual bonds leaves wounds. Wounds which can lead to permanent scars. Perhaps we should pay more heed to that memory-filled diary.

How sad that memories for that young girl are of boys who are but shadows in her diary. Norplant might prevent her getting pregnant, but it cannot restore her youth and innocence. “I’m young,” she says, “but i feel old.”

New Contraceptive Is Long Overdue

by Julianne Malveaux

Guest columnist

SAN FRANCISCO — With the approval [in December 1990] of Norplant, the first new contraceptive since the pill, the science of reproduction moves a small step forward and women unable to use the pill now have another option.

Despite its simple method of insertion, its long-acting features and its 99% effectiveness rate, Norplant isn’t perfect. It may cost hundreds of dollars to insert and will cause irregular menstrual periods in some women. Still, the Population Council, whose scientists developed Norplant in 1974 and tested it for several years, is to be congratulated for its work in this area.

Even as Norplant offers new options for women, the development of the drug raises questions about the role of the government in women’s health research. We spend billions through the National Institutes of Health but only a fraction of government-funded studies use women as subjects of focus on conditions peculiar to women — menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.

Though breast cancer is the No. 1 killer of women, its causes and cures have not been fully addressed by NIH. The Women’s Health Equity Act would allocate funds for medical research on women in a range of areas. The Contraceptive and Infertility Act would establish three centers and a research program to attract scientists to this type of research. But if their process of development and testing is similar to the Population Council’s, it may be another 20 years before new contraceptive devices are introduced, making Norplant all the more important.

People like the writer across the page [that would be Charmaine] pooh-pooh [oh please] innovations like Norplant, saying contraceptive devices encourage promiscuity. That’s like saying that manufacturing cars encourages auto accidents or baking cakes encourages obesity. Teen sexual activity is neither encouraged nor impeded by the development of Norplant, but millions of women will find their contraceptive options greatly expanded because of this new drug’s availability.

It would be a mistake to limit research because of misplaced fears about teen sexuality. Indeed, the fact that Norplant must be inserted surgically means that those teens who are interested in using this kind of birth control will be exposed to medical professionals they might not otherwise meet. We need to celebrate the arrival of Norplant. Not only does it offer women a new range of options, but it also points out the urgency for passage of legislation like the Women’s Health Equity Act.


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1 Response

  1. Colleen says:

    Hello, Jack! Just saw your post on Julianne Malveaux and her face off with Charmaine.

    Go get ‘em Charmaine! I’m a huge fan of all she has been doing on the abstinence front.

    Anyways, just wanted to say hello and thanks for the bit of inspiration this morning.