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Should Schools Provide Contraceptives to Students? Parents Talk

A pilot program in New York City that provides contraceptives to students has met little resistance from parents. Should something like this be offered in Minnesota schools?

Let's just say it. Teens are having sex. And some studies show teens are engaging at increasingly younger ages and not using protection.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released findings that showed of high school students surveyed in 2011, nearly 48 percent said they had had sexual intercourse. Further, almost 34 percent said they had sex during the previous three month period with nearly 40 percent of those admitted to not using a condom and nearly 80 percent to not using form of birth control.

New York City recently implemented a pilot program to provide more access to contraceptives in select city schools. According to a New York Times article, health officials said it has been met with little parent opposition, with only 1 to 2 percent of parents returning a form to opt out of the program.

The program uses doctors from the health department, who prescribe contraceptives, and school nurses. Emergency contraceptives, condoms, pregnancy testing and birth control pills are among the services provided to students.

The schools chosen for the program were selected "because they had a dearth of health services nearby and they served a student population known to have a higher risk of pregnancy," the New York Times article said.

Given the changing scope of sexual activity among teens, would you support a similar program in your local school district? Should schools spend more time on abstinence rather than safe-sex education? Do parents or schools have more of the responsibility? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Lee September 28, 2012 at 02:01 PM
With all due respect, David, in a free country, "society" does NOT "[have] to make some hard decisions regarding healthcare and...birth control for teens." We've left a little too much decision making to "society" and look where it's gotten us - to a place where no one had to be responsible for anything, because "society" will step in and correct the problem. Parents need to be encouraged to, and if necessary forced to, take responsibility for their children.
Liberaltarian September 28, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Sounds like 98% of the parents were fine with delegating this parental role to the government as only 1 to 2 percent of parents opted out of the program. Also, Minnesota teens currently can purchase or obtain condoms and birth control pills without parental consent. So the only change would be in the accessibility of these items. If a parent wants his teen to go to the local grocery store to buy condoms instead of the school nurse, all he'd need to do is inform the school of that decision and, for his child, the parental role remains with the parents. Regarding the abortion comments, the most realistic way to reduce abortions is to reduce unwanted pregnancies. If you're anti-abortion, then logically you should be pro-birth control. But if you're really just anti-sex except for purposes of procreation, and you want the threat of unwanted pregnancy and disease to be a deterrent of sex simply for enjoyment, then I can understand your opposition to accessible birth control. This website provides excellent information on the teen sex laws in each state. http://sexetc.org/states/minnesota/
Paul Lareau September 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I think it is a wonderful idea. The kids have already made the decision to be sexually active, regardless of what their parents believe or demand. The primary division I hear here is between parents who want to consider pregnancy, abortion, disease, and the termination of education as fitting and proper punishments for disobedient children, versus parents who believe that it is as important a responsibility for parents to protect their children from foolish mistakes as making and enforcing rules.
Daryl Fryxell September 28, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Many of you are missing the point. The issue is not the merits of birth control or abstinence or abortion. The issue is whether it is the proper role of the government schools to spend our tax dollars to provide free birth control to minors. I say no.
Will Bildsten September 28, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Washburn High School's nurses already offer free condoms to students. I understand people feel like schools shouldn't be involved with students' sex lives, but I'm sure that Washburn's program has prevented many unintended pregnancies, therefore preventing many tragic abortions. People have to think of contraception as a method for preventing abortions because kids will have sex no matter what. I hope more schools take the initiative to prevent unintended pregnancies for the good of unborn children and for the health of teenage girls.
The Twilight Clone September 28, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Then make a choice: - pennies for contraception now OR - tens of thousands of dollars for child support (food stamps, welfare, social security) over 18-plus years. What's it going to be, Daryl? Or are you among those who think we can stop people from having sex?
Liberaltarian September 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Daryl, would you support the program if the students paid for the condoms or pills? How about if private contributions did?
Ken Coy September 28, 2012 at 05:10 PM
"According to a New York Times article, health officials said it has been met with little parent opposition, with only 1 to 2 percent of parents returning a form to opt out of the program." (1) I wonder how the forms were sent to the parents, (2) how the forms were to be returned, and (3) what the response would have been if parents had to "opt-in" to the program.
The Twilight Clone September 28, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Good question. Is it really the tax money on which he's hung up? Or is it the idea that we can and should control what people do in their private lives?
Daryl Fryxell September 28, 2012 at 06:08 PM
No, the government schools were created to teach a specific set of skills to students, ie. reading, writing, math, etc. The government cannot and should not replace the parents. They are abusing our tax money by expanding their role beyond those basic things. Providing birth control to minors is FAR BEYOND the traditional mission of government schools. To be sure, ALL governmental bodies have expanded their powers beyond those which are set forth in Constitution or statute, but that does not mean we have to accept such expansion. We the people need to reject such expanded powers and reign in government expansion at the local, state, and national levels.
Concerned Mother September 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Schools and taxpayers should not be paying for contraception methods. According to the article titled, "Contraception linked to massive rise in abortion rate " from the LifeSiteNews.com website, "Pro-lifers have long argued that contraception results in greater sexual activity and, because contraception fails so consistently, in more “unwanted” pregnancies. This in turn leads to more abortions. “Since it is ... a long-recognized and documented scientific fact that almost all so-called ‘contraceptives’ routinely fail at statistically significant rates resulting in ‘unplanned pregnancies’, is there any wonder that elective abortions are socially required in order to take care of such ‘accidents’?” asked Dr. Irving. “Thus abortion has become a ‘contraceptive’ in and of itself.” “The whole idea is just to get people on contraception so they can sell them abortion,” said Dr. Clowes. This certainly seems to be the case. As when Planned Parenthood was kicked out of a southern state the teen pregnancy and abortion rates dropped. When Planned Parenthood was allowed to return, the teen pregnancy and abortion rates went back up.
The Twilight Clone September 28, 2012 at 06:13 PM
@Daryl "We the people need to reject such expanded powers and reign in government expansion..." I can only assume, then, that you will vote NO on the marriage amendment. *crickets*
Daryl Fryxell September 28, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Twilight, you would be wrong if you assumed that. Why, you may ask? The definition of marriage is clearly a state law issue. It is the state's proper role to determine the definition of legal relationships such as marriage due to the statewide legal effects on inheritence, taxes, government benefits, and numerous other situations. The proposed amendment does nothing more than confirm a pre-existing and traditional definition of marriage for legal status purposes under state law.
Simon D September 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Twilight, good comment on Daryl's thoughts, he still doesn't get the irony of his disconnected and contradictory views of government's roll in our lives.
Liberaltarian September 28, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Probably significantly lower if parents had to "opt-in". Where I taught school, a lot of parents wouldn't have opted-in to see their kid's grades. What year was the traditional mission of government schools established? Was the study of Latin required for high school graduates? Were all children allowed to attend or just white students? Did boys learn to type? Point is, times change and the mission of government schools must continue adapting to modern needs.
Smokin' Joe September 28, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I'd prefer that this be funded privately, but of the billions of dollars wasted yearly in our public education sysyem it's nice to see that there's actually something in school that relates to the kids' lives. Those against this program have either forgotten what it's like to be that age or are totally hypocritical. If you don't want your own kid to have sex that's fine, teach them your moral viewpoints and good luck to you. But the idea that the availability of birth control affects the decision to have sex is absolutely ludicrous. Personally, I don't want to pay for any more kids born to kids. A couple of bucks now versus a lifetime of subsidies for the child and the mother seems like a pretty good investment.
Ken Coy September 28, 2012 at 09:41 PM
You hit the problem on the head, Chris. These are supposed to be "public" schools operated by the public for the benefit of the public. Instead they are (as you so aptly pointed out) "government" schools operated by the government for the benefit of the government.
Russ Liljedahl September 28, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Absolutely not! Parent, keep track of where your children are and what they are doing
Political Mama September 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM
In the state of MN a "minor" child under the age of 18 cannot get a massage without parent concent, but they can walk into any planned parethood and get contraception without a parent's concent or knowledge. It's true. No child should be dispensed medication of ANY KIND without a parent's knowledge.
jackie Kuehn September 29, 2012 at 02:26 AM
It's against the law to chain them to the clothes polls, & that's the only way I now of to keep track of a 16 year old. I'm almost 80 & my Mother couldn't keep track of me all the time & we only had bicycles. Lets not be in the dark these kids do what thay want & parents have no controal thay can't even give them a swat on the butt. They will have sex any time or place they get the urge. Give the girls the pill & leave the boys know where they can get free condoms. It's better than abortion & cheeper.
Simon D September 29, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Abortion is the most effective form of birth control, works 100 percent of the time. Thats a better rate than abstinence which doesn't always work. ( Just ask Jesus' Mom)
Nick September 29, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Yeah, and genocide is the most effective way to cleanse the population of all the "undesirables". The only catch to both of them is that you have to forget about the value of human life.
Nick September 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM
The title of this article is, "Should Schools Provide Contraceptives to Students? Parents Talk" Why don't we have one that says, "Should Schools Take Over All Parental Responsibility? Parents Talk. Mass production is more efficient right? And then everyone would be parented in the exact same way, so you wouldn't have anyone getting indoctrinated with any pesky religion or anything like that. It would save so much time and money to do away with all of this expensive and inefficient individualism and personal responsibility.
Liberaltarian September 30, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Once again Nick, you want to protect everyone's individualism and insist on personal responsibility EXCEPT when they choose something you disagree with. No one is making the kids take birth control or use condoms. The kids are CHOOSING to. What about the kids' individualism and personal responsibility. Being sexually active in your teen years is not a crime. You like history Nick. Historically, at what age did boys and girls become sexually active? People say that teens are so much more sexually active now. That's hogwash. If you go back 100 years, 500 years, 2000 years, a high percentage of women were married by age 18. If modern teens want to take personal responsibility for their sexual behavior decisions, that's great.
Nick October 01, 2012 at 01:02 AM
The schools are for educating, not for providing birth control. It's not that I don't agree with birth control. It's that schools are not there to provide it. My point was that if schools are going to start doing things other than educating, where does it stop?
Daryl Fryxell October 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Nick, theses nitwits do not understand (or they don't care) that providing birth control to minors is far beyond the actual function of the government schools, which supposedly is to teach the students math, reading, english, etc. I say that the government schools, as with all units of government, must be limited to their legitimate governmental functions. If we fail to limit them, taxation and spending will both necessarily skyrocket. We've seen that year after year. How that working out for us? Not so well if you work and pay taxes.
Political Mama October 01, 2012 at 09:32 PM
This isn't about BC it's about parental rights. The government is an entity. Not a parent.
Amy Paddock October 02, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I find this a interesting discussion. I find a lot of parents handle the aspect about talking to their kids sex is quite varied. Let's face it, Parents talking, or trying to talk, to their kids about that subject not only difficult for the parents, but their kids as well. Talking about sexual deceases, sexual intercourse is a really big topic. Some seem not to talk much about it, or are not able to get through all the necessary information kids should probably have, or some parents are not up on all the updated information. Some actually just tell their kids not to have sex "until" etc., while others try a bit harder. Usually, kids often talk to each other more then their parents, and those conversations would surprise most of us. I am not saying I am for or against, I am saying there is a reality that is much different then most of us would like to admit.
Liberaltarian October 02, 2012 at 03:55 AM
How can this issue be about parental rights? The parents can opt their teen out. The parents can prohibit people at the school from giving any birth control to their child. This program doesn't affect your kids. It would only affect kids that AREN'T yours. Your opposition is limiting the parental rights of those kids' parents. There was another blog a few months ago about kids' curfews. I said that I wanted the freedom to set whatever curfew I see fit for my child. I got blasted. Where were the parental rights advocates then? Seems like you only want parental rights for people with the same parenting style as you. I think older teens should have some supervised experience with alcohol before they go off to college. Some of you parental rights people are probably thinking I shouldn't let my child do that.
Amy Paddock October 02, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Why do we need to confirm a law with an amendment? "Just in case one day we may change our minds"? That's the point, right? I think those who believe that marriage should be traditionally between a man and a women should be free to live that way, and speak their mind, but not change the constitution in order to protect their religious views on this topic. I realize it is an uncomfortable possibility, but people do change their minds. It shouldn't be illegal not to. There is another reason I don't like this amendment. When we allow our religious belief's to control the constitution to such a degree, then next: religious groups fighting over who will have more power to control it? We can look to history here and see many reasons why this shouldn't happen.

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