The sexual landscape in Austria is interesting. It seems quite typical of several European countries, but I have recently had the opportunity to hear about that particular country on an extended visit there.
Birth control supplies are discounted for young people up to the age of 21, then they become more expensive. Yes, teenagers get more help than fully mature people. The cost to a teenage woman would be about 10 Euros a month, and some or all of this can be rebated. This seems to me to match human behavior better than the proposals in several U.S. states to deny birth control to younger people.
A teenage Austrian friend tells me that many of her male friends keep a fund of 500 Euros (the approximate price of an abortion — that’s about $625) separately from the rest of their money in case their girlfriend might need it. This, too, is often rebated by various insurance plans. It is reassuring also to know that an Austrian doctor is required to perform an abortion if his or her patient requests it. It is simply part of being a gynecologist/obstetrician.
The boyfriend of one young Austrian woman was the result of an amorous adventure while his mother was vacationing on an exotic island. The boyfriend has three siblings by two other women. The Austrian woman raised her son by herself, but her sacrifice was minimal since, if a father cannot or will not support his child, or lives in another country, the State steps in with child support. The money which the State provides to the mother and child will be retrieved from the father if he is ever within their jurisdiction. The young man referred to above has recently met his father for the first time, but it’s pretty certain that the father will never visit him in Austria.
I am impressed by the practicality and humanity of these laws. In the U.S. we spend time, law enforcement resources, journalistic investment, and Congressional schedule fighting over human behavior — abortion, marriage, teenage sexual activity, etc. — which has been common since the beginning of human time. It seems more efficient to make the effort to minimize the sometimes deleterious results of “misbehavior” (though is it misbehavior if most everyone does it?) without sitting in judgment of our fellow citizens.
Tags: abortion decisions, morality and sex, travel