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Posted at 7:31 PM ET, 05/25/2010

Why should taxpayers pay for condoms?

By editors

By Chris Krisinger

Holding to his belief that distributing condoms “was a good thing,” D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) figured the shortcoming of the program was that “we never [before] asked the kids what they wanted” [“D.C. to add Trojans to free-condom program,” Metro, May 21].

Has it ever crossed Mr. Catania’s mind that demonstrating some leadership and moral fortitude and standing for the idea that monogamous, committed relationships — even abstinence — would be better than asking taxpayers to foot the bill for condoms so young people can continue to have sex without consequences? Isn’t this even more true if the public health goal is preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases?

Just how low can public discourse on the issue go? I would be ashamed if I were the D.C. city employee making the claim that “the gold package [Trojan brand] certainly has a little bit of the bling quality.” The statement was indicative of the larger social issue of an “entitlement mentality.” A New York public official was quoted in the article saying she wants to ensure that people are given — at taxpayer expense, no less — what they want. Her agency “has received requests for ‘larger sizes’ and ‘extra thin’ condoms. New York, like the District, is happy to oblige.”

It is incredible that government “leaders” go along with these nutty social, public policy ideas and look taxpayers in the face and tell them we should pay for someone’s condoms.

By editors  | May 25, 2010; 7:31 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, public health  
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I too wish that kids wouldn't have sex but here on planet earth, it appears to be happening. The District may spend as much as nine cents per Trojan condom. I wonder if an unplanned pregnancy or a case of syphilis would cost the city more or less than nine cents? This isn't a morals classroom, this is about saving lives and reducing government costs.

Did you know that the governments also give away cash to corporations? Why, your Commonwealth of Virginia just landed Northrup Grumman thanks to $10-$12 million in direct cash payments. Oh, right, that's completely different and should not trouble anybody's delicate sensibilities.

Posted by: priv05242010 | May 26, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Is Chris Krisinger's angry rejection of better condoms, to promote safe sex, puritanical or just knee-jerk Libertarianism? I wonder if he (she?) has considered, in his (her?) financial outrage, the cost to him (her?) and DC of AIDS, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies? I for one will happily chip in an extra $0.10 to reduce the devastating long term consequences of youthful indiscretion.

Posted by: nlasner | May 26, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Though I agree that government shouldn't be handing out condoms paid for by tax revenue, your argument is unrealistic and a bit on the holier-than-thou side. Reality gets in the way. Talk to the parent, not the government.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 26, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Chris Krisinger’s comments (May 26 - Local Opinions) on the D.C. Council member David A. Catania’s decision to provide more expensive condoms seems on a prima facie level to be justified. However, the purpose of providing condoms is to prevent sexuality transmitted diseases, especially HIV. There is a substantial cost-benefit to the District in preventing HIV, as many of the recipients of the “free” condoms use public health services, and the cost of treating an HIV patient are very high (besides to social considerations).

If the recipients don’t use the lower cost condoms then the purpose is defeated. Although there is a sense of moral outrage in providing these more expensive condoms, I salute Mr. Catania’s decision because he has kept his focus on purpose of the program: the need to prevent STDs.

Posted by: robert-reston | May 26, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

First, Mr. Krisinger, you are evidently not a DC taxpayer. We in the district are tired of outsiders telling us what we should do. As an actual DC taxpayer I would rather pay $0.09 for a condom than the thousands of dollars to raise a child and support the mother or even a few hundred for an abortion. Since I have never been married and am not a virgin, I'm not in a very good position to preach abstinence to anyone.

Posted by: sjpatejak | May 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Krisnger: Has it ever crossed *your* mind that the very people who are always claiming that they demonstrate leadership and moral fortitude and that they stand for the ideas of "monogamous, committed relationships — even abstinence —" are usually the very same ones who are revealed to be married and having affairs? Before you call the sexual behavior of some poor inner-city kids "entitled", maybe you should have a chat with all the politicians who want to have it both ways: telling me that sex is dirty out of one side of their mouth while kissing their mistresses with the other side.

Posted by: jenms | May 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Posted by: GP04 | May 26, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Chris Krisinger, Perhaps if you lived in D.C. you would have a better understanding of reality. From your perspective maby we could just get these kids to stop breathing!

Theron White, D.C.

Posted by: copedc | May 26, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I wish we had two suns and the clouds were made of cotton candy.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 27, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Unwanted pregnancies and STDs are more expensive than condoms. If these young people are willing to use them and avoid the above (perhaps the don't want to be in the same situations their parents are/were in!), then they are acting responsibly.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | May 27, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

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