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ss nucleus - autumn 1996,  Editorial


This issue of Nucleus nearly met with disaster. I had been out to a restaurant after exams, and was cycling back along the Strand with the proofs on my back carrier- when a taxi driver began hooting at me incessantly. I turned round and realised to my horror that Nucleus and I had parted company and 36 pages were blowing along the road.... I spent the next half hour dodging the traffic attempting to recoup the shambles (all pages sporting tyre-marks, two missing without trace...!)

The exams in question were obs & gynae finals. The new-style OSCE clinicals resembled silent farce. Every six minutes (on the bell) we swapped stations; and as one man, forty students arose, shuffled five paces clockwise, and sat down again. After such delights as examining pregnant tums; taking smears from the pelvic dummy; dipping clinistix into 'urine' (eggwhite) and naming structures on hazy laparoscopic views (was it ovary/gallbladder...?) the final hurdle bore this briefing: 'You are the GP. The next person on your list is the local vicar. Last week his fifteen year old daughter came to see you requesting the pill- which you prescribed. She doesn't want her parents to know she is sleeping with her boyfriend...' Enter Reverend, stage left, on cue and in confrontational mood; wife having discovered pill-packet in daughter's drawer. 'We thought before challenging her, we'd tackle you, Doc- we presume you prescribed them...what's going on?'

This is everyday GP bread and butter. Of course, the law allows 'mature' minors to obtain contraceptives without parental consent- and requires that confidentiality be maintained. Perhaps, given I would not have prescribed in the first place (see 'Contraception for the Unmarried?', Nucleus, Jan 1996) I should have conscientiously objected to playing out the scenario. But the scale of the teenage sex problem- and its sequelae down the line- is sobering. So too are prevailing attitudes in the RCOG and FPA (Family Planning Association).

On page 2 of this issue, Trevor Stammers counters forcibly with 'Sex Education- Seize the Day'. Appropriate sex education, he urges, plays a vital role in preventing such problems. No Christian can afford to turn their back upon this subject. What ends in under-age sex, sex outside marriage, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, broken families and physical and psychiatric morbidity, begins with unwise first sexual choices. If we do not take the initiative, others will; and with a very different agenda. The leading proponents of sex education in Britain today are promoting a sexual morality far removed from Christian norms. We who live in God's light, not only have our lives illuminated by him- but are the means of introducing light into the dark areas of human conduct. With sex education- and other issues raised in this edition (including contributions from Michael Jarmulowicz on 'The Use of Fetal Tissues in Transplantation' and Andrew Fergusson on 'Hypnosis') we must 'seize the day'; missing no opportunity to live for God in an evil environment. For:

' were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord...Everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible...Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.' (Eph 5:8-16)

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