By Emily Murray
While the continued controversy rages on regarding emergency contraceptive and it’s uses, many were oblivious to it’s distribution in over a dozen public high schools in New York City over the past year.
The program was launched without fanfare in January 2011, making the morning after pill known as Plan B and the oral contraceptive Reclipsen available to high school students for free. The name of the program is CATCH – Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare. The first portion of the program rolled out to 5 NYC schools based on need. The need was calculated by teen pregnancy rate and access to health care. It then rose to over a dozen area schools.
While this news may anger some opponents of the morning after pill, the parents of children in these school districts didn’t seem to voice any severe concern. When the program was rolled out, parents were notified by letter and were given the option of opting their children out of these free services. According to the health department (and a recent TIME article on the matter) only about 1% to 2% of parents have opted out. The children whose parents have not voiced concern can simply visit the school nurse to receive emergency contraception, birth control or even a pregnancy test and their parents do not need to be notified.
According to statistics about the program listed in the article, in the 2011 – 2012 school year there were 567 students who received Plan B and 580 who received a regular form of birth control via the oral contraceptive Reclipsen.
Naturally any program dealing with teen sexual health will inevitably be met with controversy and those against the program fear that by making the medication so readily available, it will actually encourage teens to have riskier sex.
Most high schools currently provide students with condoms as part of their sex ed programs so what do you think about birth control pills and emergency contraception? Do you think this is helpful for today’s youth or is this telling them that it’s okay to have unprotected sex?
Got an opinion? Sound off! We would love to hear it!