New York City Public Schools have started making the controversial morning after pill, or plan B pill available to its students without parental consent. This new contraceptive makes it possible to prevent a pregnancy for up to 72 hrs. after unprotected sex.
Students can get birth control from the school nurse confidentially as part of the CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health) program. This program is part of a citywide attempt to lower the rate of teen pregnancy which leads, mostly poor teen girls, to drop out of school.
Parents have the option to opt out of the program but, so far less than 2% have chosen to do so.
When I first heard this story the "without their parents consent" part is what really bothered me because I believe that parents have the right to know if their children are engaged in sexual activity. Any child who requests contraception, especially this particular pill has probably already been engaging in intercourse. So it is almost as if the NYC school system is helping its students deceive their parents. I hope this CATCH initiative also teaches students about the risks of unprotected sex because unlike condoms the morning after pill does not prevent STD's. It also makes me wonder if teenage pregnancy amongst the poor in New York City is considered a forgone conclusion without government intervention, and if not, then abstinence should be introduced as an option. With that being said, parents who have not, and do not discuss the dangers of sexual activity with their children, and the pitfalls of teenage pregnancy, are somewhat irresponsible. There are some things that the schools should not have to teach our children. Learning begins at home, and these days too many parents rely on the system to raise their children, and in this day and age where one mistake can cost our children their lives, failure to parent can be fatal.