DEAR ABBY: I have a beautiful teenage stepdaughter who lives with her mother and stepfather. Although "Betty" loves her mother, she has never been able to confide in her. She's very religious and fairly strict, so Betty comes to me with everything.

Betty recently told me that she lost her virginity to a boy she had been forbidden to see. She needed someone to talk to - someone who wouldn't put her down, and I was there for her. She begged me not to tell her mother. My heart aches for this girl, and my biggest fear is that she may become pregnant or contract a venereal disease.We discussed condoms and birth control pills, but she can't get the pill without parental consent. I'd like to get the pill for her, and I think I could if she were to go to my doctor, but I wouldn't feel right doing it behind her mother's back.

Her mother and I are very good friends and she trusts me. If I get Betty the pill, will it make it easier for her to continue having sex? She's already told me that if she got pregnant, she would come to me for help. - BETTY'S CONFIDANTE

DEAR CONFIDANTE: Every teenager needs a mature, non-judgmental friend to whom he or she can turn for sound advice and counsel. Ideally, that person is a parent. But if that's not possible - as in Betty's case - Betty's mother should be grateful that her daughter has someone like you in her daughter's corner.

Since Betty has already lost her virginity, I doubt that she will stop now. Stress the fact that sex today can have very serious consequences; therefore, selectivity is vital. We now know a sexually transmitted disease can be fatal. So be sure she understands how to protect herself from pregnancy or disease.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing on behalf of Ida Ward Linton, the daughter of Lemuel T. Ward, to whom you gave credit for writing "The Hunter's Poem" - describing the tragedy of having shot a pair of geese in flight.

I would like to set the record straight. The poem is titled "Remorse" and was written by Truman P. Reitmeyer of Philadelphia.

Ida would like the public to know that it was not her intention to mislead them. "Remorse" was one of her father's favorite poems and was one of 100 or more that Lem used to recite to visitors to his decoy shop. He used to hand out copies of the poems he recited, and of course, he would be asked to autograph them. Although the poems were printed with the names of the authors, it was only Lem's signature that the happy visitor would be aware of upon leaving.

Lem never wrote a poem, but his brother, Steve, did - and I suppose this fact helps add to the confusion. Ida has received many phone calls from all over the country since you published that poem, and it would help if you could publish a correction. Thank you! - JACK R. SCHROEDER, CRISFIELD, MD.

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