DEAR ABBY: The letter from "All in Love Is Fair" (Oct. 1), asking your opinion about asking her boyfriend to pay for half the cost of her birth control pills, made me chuckle. I have been married for 28 years, but when my husband and I were going together, I paid for my birth control. One day when I was at the pharmacy and my birth control method went from the conveyer belt to the bagger, she remarked how expensive it was. I just smiled and said, "Not as expensive as a baby!" The checker cracked up. I think you gave the writer the correct answer.
— BEEN THERE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BEEN THERE: Thanks for your support, but we are definitely in the minority. I heard from one other reader who agreed with us. On the other hand, thousands of men and women wrote that my answer was sexist and outdated. Please forgive my lapse, folks. I admit that while my batting average may be pretty fair, I am not "pitch" perfect. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I preach equal responsibility for birth control to both my daughters and my son! Shame on you for telling "All in Love" that paying for birth control is only the woman's responsibility. It is the responsibility of both partners. Only when men are as concerned about preventing unwanted pregnancies as women will there be fewer unwanted (and often abused) children and single welfare mothers. Please rethink this.
— JEAN W., FORT COLLINS, COLO.
DEAR ABBY: It's bad enough that women usually have to deal with the birth control issue, but having to pay 100 percent of the cost is absurd. Men should kick in toward other forms of birth control, as they reap the benefits. Likewise, a woman should split the cost of condoms.
Perhaps "All in Love Is Fair" should tell her boyfriend it's now his turn to take care of the birth control and offer to split the cost of the vasectomy.
— REBECCA IN ATLANTA
DEAR ABBY: I work in the area of unintended pregnancy prevention. One of the biggest hurdles this country faces in tackling the problem is getting males to shoulder their responsibility in preventing unintended pregnancy. You have set the field back with your response.
Men who insist that birth control is solely the responsibility of the woman aren't mature enough to be having sex. If the boyfriend is unwilling to contribute toward preventing pregnancy, she should stop having sex with him.
— S.S. IN RICHMOND, VA.
DEAR ABBY: I agree with you that a personal prescription drug should not be a shared expense if it's for an illness. But pregnancy is not an illness. Not having children is the responsibility of both parties involved, just as having children is the responsibility of both. Please tell her "Don't pop the pill if he won't share the bill!"
— PAUL IN LA PORTE, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: When my boyfriend and I became sexually active in college, he went with me to Planned Parenthood and waited while I saw the doctor. He paid half the cost of the birth control device, saying, "This is for our pleasure together, and it protects us from becoming parents before we're ready. It's my responsibility, too." I knew right then that he really loved me, because he cared about my future.
That sweet, honorable boy grew up into a loving and supportive husband. We've been happily married almost 20 years.
— MARISSA IN PALO ALTO
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.