13 New York City schools have launched a pilot birth control program that allows teens to receive the Plan B pill. The program began last year and may be expanding citywide. Parents have the option to “opt out” of the program, by signing a form that is sent home with students. However, the city’s Board of Health states only 2% of parents have chosen to have their child not participate in the program. Without signing the waiver, teens can obtain various forms of birth control, including “the morning after pill”, and other oral contraceptives, condoms, and injections.
When the program first launched, over 500 teenage girls ages 14 to 18 out of the 12,000 female students in attendance at the test schools were given the pill that prevents pregnancy up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex. The program’s first year only included 5 schools, and this year it has increased to 13.
Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), Donna Mazyck, says she has yet to come across another program like this. The program is called Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health, or CATCH, and attempts to reduce teen pregnancy rates, a common reason many teen girls drop out of school. However, many parents believe programs like this encourage unsafe sex rather than protect teens from unplanned pregnancies.
Students have had access to condoms at many schools, but now types of birth control available without parental consent (with the exception of the opt out form) include Depo-Provera shots, birth control pills, and now Plan B.
BMWK – Check out this coverage on ABCnews.com and let us know your thoughts. Will this encourage careless sex or will it help to reduce the teen pregnancy rates?