A/ARM PROOPS says: "I always try to be
constructive, and I never moralise." And as one of Fleet Street's most famous "agony" column. ists—with her own TV show too—she gives advice to an average of 400 people a week.
"I have learned that behaving in accordance with well-thought-out social standards is a good thing," she told me this week. "But, of course. you can't tell that to a rehellious 17-year-old."
She had just answered a letter from just such a "rebellious 17-year-old" who wrote to ask if she should allow her boyfriend to make love to her. "Now, if any girls asks this, it implies that she really doesn't want to, so I say 'don't', and I give practical reasons why she shouldn't. For one thing, I tell her, she is likely to become pregnant which involves a tremendous responsibility to an unborn child."
Mrs. Proops feels too that women—however forward looking and emancipated they are—need the security that marriage brings. "Without this bond a relationship can rarely be happy or rewarding."
She sums up her attitude to abortion thus: "I can see very good reasons for and against. For instance, what should I say to a woman who writes to me saying: 'I have five children and a husband with TB. Now I am expecting another child. Should I have an abortion?'" On the other hand she is totally opposed to abortions on young girls who are promiscuous. "It would be quite wrong for them to know that they can have an abortion as easily as having a tooth out."
Mrs. Proops sees the answer to the problem of abortion not in reform of the law, but in education. "I would like to see birth control taught in school as a subject, just as important as algebra and history. This is the way to prevent abortions."
And Mrs. Proops' advice to her 400 weekly correspondents and to her millions of readers: "Sex doesn't pay—before marriage, of course."