Birth Control

In: Social Issues

Submitted By clarabonczek
Words 1027
Pages 5
Time U.S.
“When the Portland, Maine, School Committee voted 7-2 Wednesday night to make birth control pills available to middle school girls as young as 11. The response provided the latest evidence that adults still have trouble talking about sex with each other, much less with our kids.
The debate was passionate, as you'd expect over an issue that touches so deeply our concerns about what our kids know and do — and when — and the messages we send them. To school officials and public health advocates who favored the measure, this was a question of confronting reality. Five of the 134 students who visited King Middle School's health center last year admitted they were sexually active; in the last four years, Portland's three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies, not counting miscarriages or unreported pregnancies that ended in abortions.
Parents may be in denial, officials suggested, they may fervently want children to delay sexual activity, but if you know for a fact that kids are having sex then the responsible thing to do is to warn them about sexually transmitted diseases and help prevent them from getting pregnant. The message was not "value neutral": "We do certainly sit down and speak with them about why that's not a good choice," said Portland's school nurse coordinator Amanda Rowe, referring to sexually active students. "But there are some who persist — even though we don't like to think about that — in being sexually active, and they need to be protected."
And while ideally parents should be responsible for transmitting information and values to their children, the school has a responsibility to children whose parents can't or won't do so. One committee member, Sarah Thompson, mother of an eighth grader, admitted that the proposal made her "uncomfortable," but she understood the need. "I know I've done my job as a parent," Thompson said. "[But there]…...

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