CBS medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton didn't appear quite so eager this morning to promote contraceptive for teens to parents in the second part of a two-part segment about teens and sex. In fact, to parents, she claimed, "We say medically the longer you wait [to have sex] the better, but again the job of a women's health specialist and adolescent gynecologist is to make sure that we protect the teenager's health and maintain it in the safest way possible for as long as possible."
Yet yesterday, CBS' "The Early Show" aired clips of Ashton promoting contraceptive over abstinence to teens, even though abstinence is one sure-fire way to protect and maintain a teen's health.
"Usually, if not always, I tell my patients that they should use two forms of contraception for birth control," Ashton told a group of teen girls, at least one of whom was only 13. "Something like the Pill, which is highly effective, and condoms all the time. And what about the birth control pill? What do you guys know about that?...Did you know the Pill could be one of the medications used to treat acne?"
Ashton used the two-part segment to promote her new book, "The Body Scoop for Girls."
Yesterday's segment focused on Ashton's conversation with a group of teen girls while this morning's segment featured a conversation between Ashton, co-host Maggie Rodriguez and the girls' mothers.
Mercy Baez, a 14-year-old girl, told Ashton that "almost every teenager already has sex by seventh to eighth grade," a fact that made Rodriguez claim, "I'm sure that some of the mothers, like me, their jaw's dropped."
While it is shocking to hear of girls as young as 12 and 13 engaging in sexual activity, neither Rodriguez nor Ashton asked the mothers' their thoughts on it. They instead focused on the fact that most of the girls in the conversation did not fully understand the purpose of a gynecologist and that they were not taught about the dangers of date-rape or sexual assault.
Another surprising moment came near the end of this morning's segments when the mothers' claimed they were not surprised to hear that their daughters told Ashton they didn't have any role models.
"I'm not surprised about that because she has to be her own person," replied Claudette Yahn, the mother of 14-year-old Madeline.
"I love that," stated Ashton.
Ashton could have reminded the mothers about the important role they play in their daughters' attitudes about sexual activity. A 2002 study found that for eighth-and ninth-grade teens, those "who reported having a close relationship with their mothers were more likely to delay the onset of sexual intercourse."
Yet reminding teens that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective means of protection against pregnancy and STDs, and reminding parents that they do influence their teens' choices, runs against the prevailing liberal thought that teens simply cannot control themselves.