April 1, 2017
In the 1970’s it was recognized that pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases were a definite problem among teenagers. In 1972, the first school-based comprehensive family planning service was established in Saint Paul, Minnesota. But, there were still opponents to establishing family planning in schools.
Some parents might not be aware that their teenage girls have the right to seek birth control measures. In a 1977 Supreme Court case Carey vs Population Services, International, the Supreme Court overturned a New York law that forbade the sale of non-prescription contraceptives to individuals under the age of 16. The Supreme Court ruled that adults and minors have a right to privacy when it comes to pro-creation.
Then again in 1983, US District Court overturned a Utah Statue that required adolescents to get permission before getting contraceptives. They found Utah was in violation of the constitution when it banned adolescents from deciding not to pro-create.
In 2015, according to thenationalcampaign.org, there were still 229,715 teenage pregnancies, 22 births for every 1,000 girls. With the high numbers of pregnancy, it makes you wonder if schools and parents are communicating that these services exist. Currently, there are 21 states and the District of Columbia that allow just the minors consent to birth control.
I do not believe all parents know that family planning in schools exists. Recently a Tulsa, Oklahoma girl came home with a Norplant contraceptive implant. The girls mother consented to what she believed was a school field trip. The mother said if she knew about this, she would not of given her consent, she felt her rights as a parent were violated. We also know that the Norplant has some side affects, such as stroke. The girl told her mother that these side affects were never discussed. So, the girl was making a judgment that could of had bad consequences.
Under Title X Family Planning, the Federal Government gives approval for family planning in schools, even as young as 12 years old. While you can agree that the mother of the girl in Tulsa, it isn’t the government that suffers. The parents absorb the cost of the minors pregnancy, unless they qualify for Medicaid.
With the latest government action, defunding of Planned ParentHood, since they also take part in Title X, I am wondering if the family planning in schools would be effected. Would the minors still be able to get contraceptives?
There are many pros and cons to school-based family planning. But, most importantly parents must be made aware these services exist instead of lying to the parent, which is what it looks like the school did. Parents and schools need to get on the same page. There may be some cases in which a minor may not be able to make an informed decision. Maybe there should be an opt-out for parents.
UPDATE: 4/5/2017 – Trump to sign rule on abortion providers as part of regulatory roll back: Donald Trump to sign rule on abortion providers as part of regulatory rollback – The Washington Times