Some New York City schools have been given morning after pills and other birth control drugs, which school nurse offices are allowed to dispense to girls without telling their parents, unless they opt out after receiving a school informational letter about the new program.
The program is called Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health (CATCH) and is part of a citywide attack against teen pregnancy, with the help of the Department of Education, reports The New York Post.
Teen pregnancy is a problem in the area, because it causes many girls, most of whom are poor, to drop out of school. Schools in the Big Apple have long supplied free condoms to sexually active teens, but this is the first time city schools have given out hormonal birth control and Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if it is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
The program could also be a nationwide first, as the National Association of School Nurses has not cited any other school district supplying students with Plan B. During an unpublicized pilot program in five of the city’s schools last year, 567 students were given Plan B tablets and 580 students were given Reclipsen birth-control pills, according to the city’s Department of Health, according to The Village Voice.
This fall, the students will also have the option of getting Depo-Provera, an injectable birth control drug that is given once every three months. Both oral and injectable contraceptives require a prescription. In the CATCH program, those are written by Health Department doctors.
For the CATCH program, a student can speak with a trained school nurse and say they have had unprotected sex. They will then get a pregnancy test and, if it is negative, can be issued a prescription.
So far, 1-2 percent of parents at each of the four schools have opted out of the program. While some students are happy with the program, others like sophomore Annette Palacios, stated that parents should give their consent, in case their kids are “allergic” to the drugs. She added that, “Girls shouldn’t be sexually active at that age.”
Do you think that New York City has the right idea with supplying birth control and morning after pills to school nurses?