The Last Abortion Clinic
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shifting attitudes
A frank discussion with young women about abortion, contraception, pregnancy, and today's "hook-up culture"

Historically, some of the most ardent supporters of reproductive choice have been young women at America's colleges and universities, but that may be changing. A 2003 CBS/New York Times poll showed that only 35 percent of women aged 18-29 agreed that "abortion should be available to anyone who wants it," down from 50 percent among the same age group in 1993.

FRONTLINE, headquartered in Boston, wanted to take its own measure of what was happening among this new generation of young women and invited several from Boston-area colleges, including Boston College, Harvard University, Tufts University and Wellesley College, to talk about the abortion issue and how it relates to their thinking and to their lives. Ten women, aged 19 to 24 and from different parts of the country, participated in a candid discussion covering a range of topics, including: cultural pressures to have sex; what they would do if they became pregnant; how to decide when life begins; and whether the abortion issue should be decided at the state or federal level.

The discussion took place on Nov. 2, 2005. To protect the women's privacy, only first names are used.

photo of the participants

What is the sexual culture at your school?

Does it happen? … Do people talk about it a lot? In what context does it come up?

LINA: Usually when they hear other people. … I've heard people having sex, and I know very few people who haven't heard other people having sex. …

CATHERINE: … And then there are some people at Wellesley who deliberately have very loud sex, to kind of show off, "I'm getting laid and you're not," because it happens infrequently at our school. …

I feel like the pressure to have sex but not have babies is a big part of what's going on right now in the new definition of what it is to be a woman.

MARY: I have a very different experience. I go to school in New Orleans; I'm just here for the semester because of the hurricane. And sex is like the center of the social scene at my school in New Orleans … [for] everyone. We go out on a Tuesday night and stay out until 4:00, and your roommate brings home some random boy and it's like, OK. Where [as] a lot of schools and [with] a lot of groups of friends that I know at home, that just doesn't happen.

Do you think it's that your school draws the highly sexual, or do they become sort of highly sexualized?

MARY: I think it's gotten to be such a part of the campus almost, not necessarily with the school, but just the environment, that it's OK. And so I think if your friend thinks it's OK, then you can do the same thing because it's OK. You just start to think that what you're doing isn't like, "You slut!" or whatever. It's just part of the norm. …

TINA: … I think I have sort of a skewed perspective of it. I've found that definitely a lot of my friends do talk about it, but it's often my single friends. A lot of people that I know are in serious relationships; it just doesn't nearly come up as much. [But], I'm also very conservative on social issues like that, so I think my friends deliberately don't tell me.

MARY: No, but I agree with you, because I've had a boyfriend for two and a half years, and I don't come home and say, "Hey, I got laid last night!" because I get laid a lot. But my single friends, they're excited when they bring home a boy on Friday night or something. …


What happens when a student gets pregnant?

NICOLE: In Wellesley, it's looked down upon. And they don't even allow women to have babies on campus. So if you become pregnant, you can stay there throughout the pregnancy, but when your child is born, it's like, "Goodbye! We don't have anywhere for you." …

What about at Boston College?

TINA: I was reading an article recently about pregnant women, or the lack thereof, visibly, at Jesuit colleges. I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen a pregnant woman walking around [campus] that looked about undergraduate or graduate age.

You're nodding, Shannon.

SHANNON: I agree, I haven't seen that at BC or at my undergrad. And I think a lot of it has to do with how they view pregnant women and pregnancy in higher education; they don't seem to go together.

KAYLA: What about at Harvard?

MARY: When I found out about this [discussion], I looked at the Health Center Web site. And under the Women's Health Program, … one of the sections was about pregnancy, and that if you're going through with your pregnancy, here's some options; if you need to terminate your pregnancy, here are some options. And if you are interested in adoption. I thought it was really interesting and very informative. It wasn't obviously advocating it, but it was nice enough that the information was there. …


Is there a stigma to being young and pregnant?

Shannon, you touched on this idea. Is there a stigmatization of young women who are pregnant? …

From a moral standpoint, I think abortion is wrong. It's immoral; it's unethical.  However, not everything that' immoral or stupid should be illegal.

ANGELICA: … Women in higher education, in general, aren't going to be pregnant. But that's not the norm. I think it's fair to say that we all go to really good schools. In other parts of the country, dropping out of school and getting pregnant is the norm. I know that one of my close friends at Wellesley attended an inner city high school, and 17 of her friends got pregnant. That was sort of the culture. She was one of four people to go to school out of state. And so again, just in our demographic in general, I don't think that we are going to run into women that are pregnant at our schools. …

LINA: There's a great article by [author and journalist] Frederica Mathewes-Green. It's called, "Let's Have More Teen Pregnancy," and she argues that back in the '50s, women used to have children much, much younger. And when you got your high school diploma, it was a symbol that you were an adult and you were ready to take responsibility.

I see parents' attitudes towards their children [are]: "Oh yeah, go to college, have fun, make mistakes." [But] we [are] there for so long. I mean, what we used to be able to do with a high school diploma now [takes] four years, six years, eight years. And they expect you at the same time to not have sex and not to have children, and not to have housing for [students with] children on campuses. …

ROSIE: I feel like the pressure to have sex but not have babies is a big part of what's going on right now in the new definition of what it is to be a woman. I just feel that at any point in a woman's life, it is a huge step to become pregnant. And for a lot of a woman's life, as much as it's "Oh great, you're pregnant!", it's "Oh great, you're pregnant, now you're not going to do as good of a job," or, "Now you're not as good of a student," or "Now you're really just not a feminist anymore, let's be honest."

Becoming pregnant changes all of society's view of you. And there is a lot of pressure on young women today to succeed, succeed, succeed; prove that you can get equal pay to any man; and getting pregnant is not in that framework. …

ANGELICA: There's pressure on women nowadays to get equal pay for equal work, all of that stuff. But what's funny is that our generation has been described as "the neo-traditionalist generation." Like we're the ones that are more willing to give up careers in order to raise families. I'm sure that most of you saw that [New York Times] article about Ivy League women wanting to become stay-at-home mothers. So I'm just curious what you guys think of that interplay.

KAYLA: I don't think that there's necessarily less pressure to be a mom. I just feel a lot of pressure to be a mom and a CEO of a major corporation, and this incredible woman, and still be incredibly involved in my kids lives, and have a great marriage. I don't feel like my role as a mother has ever been downplayed. And I definitely don't think it's anti-feminist to have kids. I know plenty of feminists who have kids. …


What factors would you consider if you became pregnant?

MARY: I probably first of all would tell one person, and keep it a secret. And that [one person] would not be my mother. And I think even [for] a lot of my friends -- they're really close to their moms -- if they tell them, I think their mothers really would say, "Get an abortion." Because I agree with you, having a baby at our age -- we're supposed to do so much with our lives -- it would just be a big disappointment, not only to ourselves but to everyone that's supported us throughout our lives.

photo of the participants

ANGELICA: Our lives don't end at pregnancy! I just know that if I were to become pregnant or if Lois were to become pregnant, I would counsel Lois to have the child. I myself would have the child because it is my child. And even if I would have to give up something in order to bear that child, I'm still, an intelligent woman, it's not the end of your career or life. …

LINA: I think it really varies on your social support system, your parents. A lot of women might have wanted to have their children, and their parents were like, "Oh, we don't want to be embarrassed; we don't want you to see that." And sometimes with religious groups, there's centers that you could go to that offer free pregnancy services. You have to do a bit of research before you can find people to support you.

… Imagine that you just found out you were pregnant. What are the factors you would consider in a decision to have a child?

LOIS: … I think getting pregnant right now, or in the next years of my life, is about the scariest thing I can think of. I would have to sacrifice my whole life. And if I had a child, I don't think I could put it up for adoption because that's my child; you can't just give it away to some strangers no matter how nice they are. …

KAYLA: Well, I have a real aversion to the phrase, "give up my child for adoption." … wWat I'm trying to get people to try to say is "Make an adoption plan," because I hate the idea that if you decide to make an adoption plan that you're giving up your child. I think what you're really doing is making a plan for your child's future. You're saying that "these parents are going to give this child a better future than what I can give them," and you're saying "I am laying out a whole new life plan." …

TINA: Do other people feel this way? I'm really very interested in the idea of adoption. I feel that if I were to become pregnant, that would be -- pretty much the only option I would really consider at this point in my life. …

KAYLA: What if the man involved in the pregnancy didn't want you to give it up, or make an adoption plan? If he wanted you to be a parent?

TINA: To continue the pregnancy and keep the child? I don't know, I haven't thought that through.

Did anyone [include] that as a thing they'd consider: his views, the father's views?

SHANNON: I think if I'm in a relationship with someone and we're having sex, even if we're using three different kinds of birth control, to me there still has to be this kind of inherent openness to what that sex could lead to.

CATHERINE: I think that this is the conversation you need to have with everyone you have sex with -- before you start having sex with them. Because no matter how much birth control you use, you can't divorce the fact that sex makes babies. And that's always a possibility. And if it happens, you should have a plan.

LOIS: I totally agree with that, but I think the reality of sex in our world isn't like that at all. I certainly hope people have sex with their boyfriends, and that's a good thing. But there's a lot of sex with people you are no longer in a relationship with [or you're] in a relationship where you haven't gotten to the point where you're able to talk about those things, which are hard to talk about, but you're already at the point where you're going to be having sex. So that's a difficult thing. …


Where do you fit on the spectrum between pro-choice and pro-life?

ROSIE: In terms of voting, I am very one-sided. Because one of the most terrifying thoughts for me is that I wouldn't have the option of getting an abortion, or that I would have to drive my friend down to Mexico to get an abortion. So I am very, very pro-choice in that way.

But personally, I am very, very conflicted. … I have a difficult time understanding how someone can be all the way to one end of the spectrum or another. If you're pro-life, I can't imagine being comfortable putting that blanket ban over other people. And I can't imagine being so staunchly pro-choice about it, because I have such a personal investment in the idea of having my own child …

NICOLE: I'm mixed as well. Voting-wise I would be pro-choice. But I don't feel like it's right to take a life away, when there's so many women that can't have children. So I wouldn't push for abortion, but I feel like women should have the right to choose. I think it also depends on the situation. For most women, I feel having children is something that needs to be planned financially, situationally, [to fit the] environment.

I feel l being here on the East Coast is different in the ways that sex and pregnancy are looked upon than in the South. I have so many friends, so many people that I know, typically in the church, that get pregnant at say 14, and they always have the kid. It's looked down upon, but it's also supported. You don't see anybody around there pushing for abortion. It's like: "You did the crime. You got to pay the time. You're going to have the child."

Is abortion an option there?

NICOLE: I'm not really sure, because I never really had that conversation with these people. I don't really feel like it's an option for most of my friends. I think their parents let them know when they first started having sex: "You need to make responsible decisions; you need to use protection. Because if you get pregnant, this is what's going to happen." That was the set-up, so they know that the right to abortion was not an option.

TINA: Should I say something very unpopular in the room that no one's going to like? I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing to know who you're having sex with, to have the conversation that Catherine was talking about, to use contraception. I mean, not everyone has access to contraception, which is why I would advocate for much more comprehensive sexual education programs in public schools.

KAYLA: Why would that be an unpopular idea?

ANGELICA: Of course it's not a bad thing to have that conversation with the guy, but I think as Lois said, it's not always practical, it's not always the reality.

CATHERINE: I think you have to make it reality if you want to get control.

KAYLA: I've never had sex with somebody who's pro-life. I always ask. Every single time, absolutely! I mean, I haven't had sex with enough guys where it's been an issue. But before I have sex with anybody, I'm always like, "How do you feel about this issue? Because if I got pregnant, I would feel horrible doing something that you would consider 'killing a baby.' So I can't have sex with you; end of story."

Does that fall under your idea of having an appropriate conversation?

TINA: Well I think that a lot of people have expressed the idea that on college campuses today -- at least in the Northeast where we're going to school, in Boston -- a lot of people just have indiscriminant sex. And a lot of times in the media, it's portrayed as "women's empowerment" and "women's rights," like we can do whatever we want.

Very few people talk about [abortion] in terms of the state's responsibility to an unborn life, whether or not that life is going to be born in a day, in a week, in nine months.

LINA: Our generation of men is one of the most pro-choice … and our generation of women is the most pro-life.

TINA: Yes, men always say to me -- I engage a lot of people about this topic -- "I can't talk about that; I'm a man." [It's] like "I can't have an opinion on abortion, because it doesn't affect me, I don't know what I'd be feeling." And I say, "Well, it's half your child!" …

I think emotionally it affects both men and women very negatively. But if you do get involved in a sexual encounter, it's [often] not preplanned; alcohol might be a problem, drugs might be a problem. To me, it's just not a good path that we're going down. …

I think that we need to have a more supportive system for women who are pregnant, in general. … A lot of what happens is women, by either the man that they slept with or by their family, are kind of prematurely forced into the decision to have an abortion. And I don't know that we do enough for women to try to help them get resources, to have support.

ANGELICA: So is what you're saying that there should be more balance between pro-life advocates and pro-choice advocates? Because you were saying that oftentimes, women are in a sense forced into, or pushed toward having an abortion. I just remember reading stories of women who had abortions that were like: "Oh my God, as soon as I had that abortion, it killed me. I can't believe I did that."

TINA: Well I don't intimately know what goes on at Planned Parenthood or any health clinic -- but that a lot of people maybe don't have all the resources that they need in order to have adoption options and family support. And that there are not a lot of policies for low-income women to help them raise a child. That's all I'm saying.

KAYLA: Well, I'd like to say that some women definitely have abortions and are very regretful. I answered the counseling and referral hotline at Planned Parenthood last summer -- that was my job -- and I talked to three women that I particularly remember who were crying and sobbing about having abortions.

But I have to say that [in my experience] every single woman that comes into Planned Parenthood signs several waivers that say, "I know exactly what I'm doing." We have a counseling session with them for half an hour where we discuss: Do you want to do this? Are you sure? Have you considered adoption? Is this definitely something you want to go through? How will you feel after? What are your feelings about this? What does your boyfriend/husband/guy-you-slept-with feel about this? …

If women get abortions in hospitals, it's kind of in and out. But from my sense of Planned Parenthood -- I sat through an abortion with somebody -- it was an arduous process. …


What should the government's role be?

CATHERINE: … I think there are two big parts of the abortion thing: One is the legality, and one's the morality. And from a moral standpoint, I think abortion is wrong. It's immoral; it's unethical. I would never have an abortion, personally. If a friend of mine were to become pregnant I would advocate for adoption or keeping the baby.

However, not everything that's immoral or stupid should be illegal. So from a legal standpoint, I advocate limited abortion rights. I think that there should be no-questions-asked abortion for the first three months. No parental consent, no [informed] consent, no spousal consent, no waiting periods, nothing, just three months [to] make your decision, and then after that, [only] in the case of the health of the mother being jeopardized. So if I were governor, that's what I would do. But personally, I'm opposed to abortion.

Why three months?

CATHERINE: Because as scientific technology gets better, premature babies have a better chance of survival. So it's getting so hard to tell what's viable and what's not. … And the science is just going to keep getting better and better and better, and that time frame is just going to get shorter for viability. …

I say three months because I think that's reasonable, even though 10 years from now, a fetus might be viable outside the mother's womb after one month. We don't know.

ANGELICA: Well, what if I don't realize I'm pregnant until I'm two-and-a-half months in?

KAYLA: Or [if] you don't have enough money to get an abortion?

ANGELICA: And then I have to coordinate my schedule?

KAYLA: Or what if you were raped?

ANGELICA: Would I just have to have the child then, if you were governor?

CATHERINE: If I were governor? Well I mean, that's why I just threw out the three months.

KAYLA: Just as a point?

CATHERINE: It could be five months, I don't know. …

ANGELICA: I think I was just reacting, personally, to when life begins and that whole idea. For me, it's when the sperm hits the egg, and it's a separate genetic entity. But I'm completely with you in terms of there's the moral sphere, and then there's the legal sphere; the governmental sphere and the personal sphere. And I don't believe that the government should eliminate abortion as an option. I agree with Rosie -- I don't want to have to take my roommate down to Mexico to have an abortion, like that return to the world of back-alley abortions and dangerous practices. …

CATHERINE: That's why if I were governor, I would make abortion legal. But I also think that's a decision that state governments should have more power to make. If one state wants to say you can have an abortion anytime, no questions asked, I'm for that. And if another state legislature votes to completely eliminate abortion, I think that's constitutionally correct. …

LINA: I don't think we're ready to overturn Roe v. Wade. I agree with Tina, with providing resources for women because the Alan Guttmacher Institute says that most women have abortions because of a lack of emotional and financial support. But I think that's something that we should definitely strive for. I think it'd be great if it were legal and no one needed any. …

KAYLA: Lois, why did you say you're on the fence?

LOIS: It was because I do notice the legal/moral distinction. But I think for me, I could use the "morning-after" pill. I don't know the science, but some people say that that isn't actually like an abortion. But even though I sort of believe that when the sperm hits the egg, that's life, I think I could take the "morning-after" pill … and I would feel OK. I mean, I wouldn't feel OK, but that's an option I could see myself taking.

ANGELICA: Because you also might not be pregnant, so it would just be a sort of safety valve.

LOIS: Right, a safety valve. But after that point, [if] I was pregnant, I think I only see a day or two, and then it's "baby" for me, and then the full moral weight of it would be on my conscience. And that's not scientific -- "a day or two" -- but emotionally, that's where I am. …

TINA: I have a real hard time because people always say to me, "Well it's your moral values, and nothing else." But to me, it's not "my" moral values or "my" theological values. Of course they play into my personal decisions, but I think you also have to consider … not [only] when a fetus is viable but when life starts. And that's where the debate gets caught up and that's where people start having conflict.

But [there's] the issue of the state. People always talk about it, again, in terms of women's issues and women's rights. But very few people talk about it in terms of the state's responsibility to an unborn life, whether or not that life is going to be born in a day, in a week, in nine months. …

NICOLE: I feel the whole issue is so situational. You have so many different scenarios that you can apply to this, that it's hard to make laws to fit one specific box because you can't fit everyone's situation into one box. There's so many different things, so many different cases. Different parents, different environments, different upbringings, different cultures. So it's hard to actually fit all of that into one thing.

Then in the case for rape -- that's why I'm pro-choice. I feel like they should have that decision because they did not choose to have sex with that person. So I feel like they should have the choice to abort the baby.

KAYLA: But isn't a life a life, though? I mean, if you're pro-life, aren't you pro-life equally across the board? To me, an undesired child is an undesired child, no matter what, it doesn't matter the reason. I feel like if you're pro-choice, you've got to be pro-choice all the way; if you're pro-life, you've got to be pro-life all the way, rape and incest aside. …

TINA: … I've thought a lot about this, and at the beginning I was thinking, in the case of rape or incest, that's just so horrible and abhorrent. I can't imagine going through that myself, and a lot of the time, the emotional repercussions and thinking about the attack, embodied in the child, all these circumstances.

At the same time, I say to myself, but if I make an exception for rape or incest, moral and theological questions aside, isn't that kind of implying that we're trying to legalize a type of behavior? Like saying: "If you choose to have sex, then you make the decision." Otherwise it's kind of legalizing a lifestyle, or a lifestyle choice. You know what I'm saying? And that's the position I've now taken -- just pro-life all the way.

But it's a hard distinction to make, because it's such a horrible event and a horrible topic. But who wants to say that publicly, you know? Who wants to actually go on tape saying that?

ANGELICA: Right. But I wanted to turn briefly to what Nicole has been saying about formulating laws to fit every scenario. I feel … [that] if I'm judging the government on these laws, I would much rather err on the side of allowing too much … than on restricting too much.

TINA: I do think it's different in the case of a woman's life. I completely think that's a different distinction than even rape and incest. Because it's two lives on the line there actually; then it's your life versus whatever-you-want-to-call-it: unborn child, zygote, whatever, their life. …


Should abortion be an issue that is decided at the state level? Or, should it be decided at the federal level?

Catherine made this distinction early on where she said, "If I were governor, this should be a state issue, not a federal issue." Roe v. Wade is a federal law. … Is this something to be decided by our federal system, or is this something to be decided by the states?

ANGELICA: Absolutely by the federal system. In terms of [it being decided by the] state, I feel that [would be] completely unfair to low-income women because presumably, if I have enough money I could just travel over to California and get an abortion. But if I'm a poor girl in Arkansas or Mississippi or Iowa and I don't have the money to travel, I would have to have the baby. That just seems completely unfair. I feel it ought to be a national issue. …

photo of the participants

NICOLE: A lot of my friends have kids before 21 or 20. It's very popular. So I feel like it's different by states and you have to be able to set laws according to the people in those states, the people that are voting. I don't feel like it's fair to assign laws to them. And when it boils down to the issues within their state, people want to protest and try to change things.

ROSIE: Just one thing that I have been thinking about … is that every state does want to retain some kind of personal identity. And I know in political battles, for gay marriage and stuff, I want it to be a federal issue; I want it to be way up there. But you have to recognize the fact that every state has a personal identity; we are not just "one country." And on a lot of issues you have to recognize that every state is its own actor.

CATHERINE: But that's actually what they have to do by the Constitution, per the 10th Amendment, which is why I think that abortion law and marriage law, and those type of laws that aren't covered under the Constitution, should be relegated to the states. Even though you're right, it does hurt low-income women who might have to travel, but are we discriminating against low-income gay people in Utah who can't travel to get married in a state like Massachusetts?

ROSIE: Yes.

CATHERINE: We are, but that's how our system is.

KAYLA: So change it.

CATHERINE: So make a constitutional amendment. But for the time being, the 10th Amendment is in place and the states really get the right to decide those type of laws.

KAYLA: But when you're 14 years old and you get pregnant, you don't choose the state that you're in. … You don't choose a state based on the abortion laws, things just happen. Reproductive rights are human rights, and they're a matter that should be in an amendment preserved in the Constitution and in the Bill of Rights.

CATHERINE: Well if that were the case, then my attitude would change. I have a very separate, impersonal view of abortion; it's very legally informed, because I've never been pregnant, I am not having sex, I don't know anyone who's been pregnant. So I just look at this from a legal theory standpoint. And the way our Constitution is structured, it seems to me that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and the states should decide for themselves. …


What are your views on the pro-life and pro-choice movements?

TINA: I actually don't like the "pro-life movement." I don't identify with that at all. ...I don't think it's very compassionate. And I know a lot of people who are pro-choice that don't identify with "the [pro-choice] movement" … because they're not all that compassionate.

Why do you think that is? Why do you think pro-lifers don't identify with the pro-life movement, and why do you think many people who are pro-choice don't identify with that movement?

LINA: Because I think [for] the media it's so much more interesting for a news station to film the person with the signs saying, "Abortion Is Murder!" than of the person who's holding the sign saying, "I Will Adopt Your Baby!"

CATHERINE: Or, "Let's Have More Day Care!" …

LINA: I think it's also interesting how all of us pretty much said that we feel like it's a human being, yet we just can't think of a world where--

ANGELICA: There are back-alley abortions!

LINA: Unfortunately, I think that's exaggerated, too.

ROSIE: No, I've got friends -- I lived 20 minutes from the border.

KAYLA: It happens. My mom's friend in college douched with Drano, and lost her uterus. …

MARY: We've never lived in a time when abortions are illegal, and I think that's a difference. I think if we're deciding between legality or illegality, I think the issue is different. But we're talking about details. We are lucky that we can take advantage of these kinds of things, and people can have those kinds of opinions. But when our parents were growing up, it was just illegal, that's all there was to it. And I think every one of our opinions would be a little different if it was completely illegal, or we lived in that time. …

ANGELICA: So again, there's that disturbing trend that we are the neo-traditionalists -- this is sort of the backlash against that old-school feminist movement.

KAYLA: But isn't the whole country going a little conservative? …

TINA: I don't think it's necessarily "going conservative"; I think that conservative thought is becoming more mainstream. I think that in a lot of areas, those thoughts have been there and have been deep-seated, and a lot of the converts to evangelical Christianity and those groups have really spurred the wide media awareness of some of that conservatism. But I think it's been there for a long time. I don't think it's a new trend. …

ROSIE: … I just feel like everyone is very reactionary. Everyone is very much reacting to their childhood situation, adolescency, their school environment. The whole country is reacting to trends. It's just Hegel's thesis/antithesis. Like they pulled one way, and then -- surprise, surprise -- we're swinging back to the right. …

CATHERINE: And it's not just a reaction against abortion rights. Abortion doesn't exist in this vacuum, isolated from everything else. I think it's really a reaction to the sexual revolution because everyone who spoke on this said that casual sex and the kind of situations we're setting ourselves up [for], with guys, have been harmful and they've kind of clothed the abortion debate. So I think our generation is becoming more traditional. …

KAYLA: Do you think that casual sex is bad for women?

CATHERINE: Yes, I do.

KAYLA: Do you think it's bad for men?

CATHERINE: Yes.

KAYLA: Do you think it's a new thing?

CATHERINE: No, it's not new, but it's OK now, and women are under pressure to do it.

ROSIE: At Tufts we're having a big discussion about the new hook-up culture, and how it is different from the '60s, '70s and '80s. There is a new sexual culture, and that people our age don't realize [it]. … People think [that in the '60s] it was free love, and everyone was just wrapped in scarves and having sex with each other! But that's not true. Even 20 years ago, you weren't going out every night and hooking up with a random person, and then going back and like talking about it. Does it happen? Oh my God! … Yes, it happens. Three times a week you go out -- I swear on my life women really do that.

KAYLA: How many? A majority?

ROSIE: Maybe not the majority… All I have to say is about my school: … You go out, you hook up. It is not uncommon to hook up with two different guys in one weekend. Not necessarily sex but oral sex. You go back, and you feel kind of validated for yourself. It is a very unhealthy sexual culture we're in right now.

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posted nov. 8, 2005

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