Kids have to remember so many things when they transition between school and home. Their homework assignments, field trip slips, lunch money, morning-after pills.
Several New York City high schools have been offering students the so-called morning-after pill and other birth control to girls without explicit parental approval.
The story was first reported in the New York Post, where it was also reported that the program existed in a limited form but was not publicized last year.
Condoms have long been distributed in New York schools, but last year was the first time the schools have offered the more controversial Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken up to three days after intercourse. It’s available only by prescription to teenagers younger than 18.
Health Department doctors handle those prescriptions, according to the Post.
This year, Depo-Provera birth control shots, given every three months, have been added to the offerings.
The program is part of a citywide pregnancy prevention effort, which parents can opt out of. Only a minuscule percentage has, the Department of Health told reporters.
It’s unclear how many parents fully understood the program, as it was explained in a form sent home and was described as part of a larger health initiative.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has said she supports the program because of the teen pregnancy epidemic in the city. And the statistics do seem staggering.
City data collected by the New York Post show that about 28 percent of students entering ninth grade have had sex, 7,000 girls under age 17 got pregnant last year, 64 percent of those pregnancies were aborted; 2,200 of the girls became mothers and, of those, 70 percent dropped out of school.
Across the country, teen pregnancy has been dropping to historic lows. A recent Centers for Disease Control report said that in 2010, the fewest number of babies were born to teens since 1946.
CDC analysts concluded, “teens appear to be less sexually active, and more of those who are sexually active appear to be using contraception than in previous years.”
What do you think of offering more contraceptive choices in high schools? Should parents have to approve each prescription?