DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old girl who is worried about getting pregnant. I've started hanging around a couple of guys that I like and who are pretty nice to me, but it seems that they only want one thing from me — and I have been giving it to them, if you know what I mean.
If I do get pregnant, I like to think that I would have the option to get an abortion, but I'm not sure how much it would cost and if I could even afford it. If I couldn't, then I would have a pretty big problem. Is it expensive to get an abortion these days? Are there places that offer free abortions to teenagers? — Worried About an Accident, via email
WORRIED ABOUT AN ACCIDENT: An abortion is one of the most expensive experiences a teenage girl can have. Forget the monetary expense, and think of the emotional price you will pay, both during your teen years and for the rest of your life as you grow into an adult woman.
I'm surprised that you speak of an abortion as though it were a minor rash. This is a sign of immaturity on your part, and your story perfectly explains why immature teen girls are much better off not participating in sexual activities, especially while they are minors. You're not even an adult of 18 yet, and there is a lot that you will learn about the world in the next several years as you age and begin to mature.
For now, please believe me, the emotional scars of an abortion are deep and long-lasting. I suggest that you wise up immediately. You won't have to worry about an abortion if you learn to say no. You have the opportunity right now to seize back control of your life before it's too late. Put both your physical and emotional health first. Trust me; if you are patient, you'll meet other guys who will truly care for your well-being and not pressure you into premarital, underage sex. It will definitely be worth the wait, and at some point, you'll likely settle upon one guy you can love and trust who will put you first in a way that you have not yet experienced.
GRANDDAD NOT 'OLD FASHIONED'
DR. WALLACE: My 19-year-old granddaughter is living with her 32-year-old boyfriend, and they are not married. I know she turns 20 in about a month, but this arrangement still makes me uncomfortable. I don't say anything because I don't want to get her upset with me or cause her to stop talking with me. I love and care for her a great deal. It's just that I don't think this kind of relationship is right. Is this because I'm an old-timer of 83 years or because I'm old-fashioned and set in my ways? — Old Granddad, via U.S. Postal Service
OLD GRANDDAD: Well, I will grant you that when you were a teenager back in your day, your granddaughter's kind of relationship was much rarer and usually frowned upon by society.
Not so much in 2020.
It is very common for couples to live together without being married. The fact that it's a common occurrence doesn't make it perfect or the right answer for each and every couple, however.
You're not old-fashioned, you're just a concerned grandfather who wants what he feels is best for his granddaughter. From your perspective, your disdain for your granddaughter's lifestyle choice is perfectly understandable.
I give you a lot of credit to be able to both voice your opinions and concerns and be respectful of her life and her choices without intervening or lecturing her. At nearly 20, she is an adult who can and will make her own decisions about her life.
I'd say that you are a loving and wise grandfather. And since wisdom can be an inherited trait, it bodes well for your treasured granddaughter that she may draw similar benefits of wisdom over her lifetime due to her bloodline!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: besnopile at Pixabay