Thursday, October 18, 2007

Maine middle schools offer contraceptives

~from AP (notice how pregnancy is viewed as a disease)

After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.

King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King's health center since 2000.

Students need parental permission to access the school's health center. But treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive.

There are no national figures on how many middle schools provide such services. Most middle schoolers range in age from 11 to 13.

"It's very rare that middle schools do this," said Divya Mohan, a spokeswoman for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

Portland's three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies during the last four years, not counting miscarriages or terminated pregnancies that weren't reported to the school nurse.

The Portland School Committee approved the plan, offered by city health officials, on a 7-2 vote Wednesday night. Whether the prescriptions would be offered this school year or next wasn't immediately clear.

King is the only one of the three schools with a health center, primarily because it has more students who get free or reduced-price lunch, said Lisa Belanger, who oversees Portland's student health centers.

More

No comments: