The state apparently provides free contraceptives to low-income women between the ages of 15 and 45 (virtually all women under 18 are considered low income). Some Republicans are trying to increase the minimum age to 18. (Doff of the cap to Dad29.) Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of Pro-Choice Wisconsin, in a bit of a non sequitur, is quoted as saying that "[w]hen we give teens accurate information about sex, we empower them to make healthy choices...."
But children under 18 are presumed incapable of making a choice to have sex. If you have sex with a sixteen year-old who is not your spouse, you have committed a class A misdemeanor. If he or she is under 16, you're looking at a felony. Nothing in the law will excuse you because you are also under 18.
So why do we wish to empower children to make a choice that we believe they are incapable of making? The only answer I can think of is that we don't believe we can stop them. And maybe we can't. We live in a highly sexualized culture in which the inhibition against pre-marital - and even casual - sex has been systematically deconstructed. While my own sense is that his was intentional and not inevitable, I am not convinced that it could ever be undone.
But there was a price to pay for this; a price paid in out-of-wedlock births, abortions, divorce and, if you believe the laments of many young women, a diminished capacity for intimacy. If parents want to resist this, is it really that outrageous to say that the state will not frustrate their efforts? Would requiring parental consent for kids under 18 be all that ridiculous? The oft-repeated claim that some families "can't talk about" sex is, more often than not, another way so saying that some parents won't consent.
So its back to "we can't stop them." But should it really be the policy of the state become complicit in a 15 year old's efforts to defy his or her parents?