Health Center Tries to Push "the Pill" on Grades Six Through Eight Without Parents' Permission
Contact: Brittany Wilson, Abstinence Clearinghouse, 605-335-3643
PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today, the Portland (Maine) School Committee will consider providing contraceptives to middle-schoolers without their parents' consent. Representatives from the King Student Health Center, which serves sixth through eighth grades, champion the proposal.
"This idea endangers the physical health of 11 to 13 year-olds," says Leslee Unruh, National Abstinence Clearinghouse President.
More than 70 percent of teens who said they had used a condom experienced condom errors, such as starting sex without a condom, taking it off before finishing sex, breaking a condom, or having it slip off and only 35 percent of girls said they consistently used condoms, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in June 2005.
"How can we expect birth control to affect younger bodies, some that have yet to complete puberty?" Unruh asks.
Students must have written parental permission to receive services at the King Student Health Center. But state law prevents their parents from discovering what prescriptions and treatments they receive.
"Parents have a right to know what medications their 11-year-olds are taking. This policy would give King free reign to hand out powerful hormones as they would lemon drops," Unruh says.
King is the only Portland middle school with a health center. Its free and reduced lunch needs outnumber those of the city's other two middle schools.
"Not only does this proposal target extremely young children," states Unruh. "It preys on a school with a higher incidence of economic disadvantage. Giving these kids birth control is not going to empower them to make better lives for themselves. It’s going to drag them down."
When compared to sexually active teens, those who abstain from sexual activity during high school years (e.g., at least until age 18) are (Heritage Foundation):
• 60 percent less likely to be expelled from school;
• 50 percent less likely to drop out of high school;
• almost twice as likely to graduate from college.
Last year, as reported by Portland's school health centers' lead nurse, 5 of the 134 students King's health center treated reported sexual activity.
"This very dangerous policy should not be imposed on the entire student body," Unruh says. "Those five children need the confidence that abstinence will give them, not birth control pills."
Abstinence education worked for Maine middle-schoolers in the past. The Maine Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed a 10 percent decrease in self-reported sexually active middle-schoolers between 1997 and 2005.
"Portland parents and community members must protect these youth from this proposal," says Unruh. "It was formulated with complete disregard for the true well-being of children and their parents' authority."