According to a report in the Daily Mail (London), a company in Switzerland has begun production of “extra small” condoms. The intended market for the product—12- to 14-year-old boys.
Currently, the condoms are only being produced in Switzerland, but the manufacturer has indicated a desire to expand distribution to areas where unprotected pubescent sex is prevalent.
“We know young people are having sex and if this is what it takes to protect them, we need to go along with it,” says Hilary Pannick of the UK-based organization Straight Talking Peer Education.
This is a perfect example of missing the point. If someone is engaging in behavior that is inherently dangerous, immoral, and, in this case, illegal, common sense would dictate that the correct course is to act to prevent that behavior from taking place—not taking steps to render the behavior less risky (and arguably more acceptable). Yet, when it comes to sexual behavior, this logic tends to get thrown out the window.
Imagine if the dangerous behavior in question was smoking cigarettes. “Well, we know kids are going to smoke, even if they aren’t of age to do so. The trick is how to ensure that they smoke safely. To make sure that kids don’t smoke dangerous unfiltered cigarettes, let us provide them with filtered, low-tar cigarettes. We should also require them to take a class on how to smoke so as to take in the least amount of carcinogens with every puff.” How effective would such a strategy be in reducing cases of lung cancer among teenagers? Would it foster responsible, ethical decision-making among the youths in question?
Alas, we live in an age where the goal is not encouraging moral, ethical choices, but reducing the consequences for immoral and unethical ones. The ultimate result of such decision making is the replacement of any kind of moral framework with a cost-benefit analysis, where the measure of the morality of an act is placed on a sliding, subjective scale. In this case, it is precisely those impressionable children who are still formulating their concepts of ethical behavior that are being taught that morality isn’t a factor.