Maine Middle school Offers Birth Control

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. – link

Wow that is absolutely ridiculous. Beyond middle schools taking the initiative to provide birth control to kids… the pill? The pill, a synthetic hormone, prevents pregnancy, if taken properly. It also regulates periods. It does not prevent AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and on and on. A child as young as 11 years old has no business pumping synthetic hormones in their body, goodness knows there are grown woman that would think twice about putting that in their bloodstream.

At my kid’s school, you can’t take a Tylenol without parental consent — and often without a doctor’s written approval. How the can this even be legal?

…treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive.

Maybe the problem isn’t so much the lack of available birth-control methods, but the lack of sound education and leadership in the school’s environment.

Wow, wow, wow.

4 thoughts on “Maine Middle school Offers Birth Control

  1. I think there’s more to consider in a situation like this than simply “it’s an outrage.” These middle schools may not necessarily be taking the very best approach, but at least they’re not entirely ignoring the problem. It’s not an ideal situation for 11-year-olds to take hormones as a birth control method without parental consent or guidance, but if i had to pick between that and pregnant pre-teens that could have serious or fatal complications during childbirth or that might resort to risky, sketchy and uncertified forms of abortion out of desperation, i might be more lenient toward birth control. This is not to say that supplying birth control free of parental consent is the solution to the problem. Maybe it’s time to consider how to best address the core of the problem. Perhaps if this country had better sex education programs, and not unrealistic abstinence-only pseudo-education these kids would think twice about the consequences of engaging in sexual activity so early in the game. Or maybe if our culture as a whole were more open about the fact that, yes, teenagers and their hormones and their bodies are full of sexuality and they require counseling to make better decisions instead of a no-only approach.

    Bottom line is that it’s only fair to suggest better alternatives or solutions if we’re going to criticize something.

  2. Hey Anna. Beyond criticism, this was my suggestion as to the real issue:
    “…the lack of sound education and leadership in the school’s environment.”

    I agree with what you said:
    “Perhaps if this country had better sex education programs…”

    I still think promoting abstinence is better than promoting birth-control. Especially in middle school. Pretty soon it will be elementary schools.

  3. Here’s some thoughts on my part as to what one component of this better sex education program could include:

    Training on decision making within the context of a moral pardigm. Although I personally am a Christian, I understand the separation of church and state and do not expect, or for that matter want teachers in public school to teach relgion. But we can learn how to think things through for ourselves, how to define our morals and use these morals to make decisons. I believe this would be a valuable part of a curriculm.

    The problem here is how capable is the average middle school young person of doing this? Research shows that many young people have not totally reached the ability to reason abstractly at this stage. So perhaps this educational component would best fit in high school. I also question the assumption that there is an intense physiological need for sex in middle school which Anna seems to allude to here. Later high school, yes, but in middle school most young people are becoming engrossed with changes in their own bodies and should be learning about those and what the implications are. Pre teens do not need to be given messages that “it’s OK to have sex”; a much more reasonable message is “it’s normal that you’re beginning to have sexual feelings’ and provision of a safe environment in the home and church and- I’ve got to come clean here – where else. Is school an appropriate location for such a dislogue? Is school, by it’s very nature a safe enough place for honest dialogue of this nature? Obiously there is a need for these feelings can be discussed. I have 3 teen aged sons. The first was more uptight (OK, I’ll confess – like me) and we didn’t talk too much about sex and when we did it was me trying to force a discussion. He is now 19 (and by the way appears extremely well adjusted and is thriving in college) and his 2 younger brothers are in 8th & 9th grade. Now these two have felt very free to talk on topics of a sexual nature for the past 3 years and, I will admit, have said things or asked questions which I was uncomfortable about periodically. However, regardless of how I felt, I simply said a quick, silent, prayer for guidance and engaged in the discussion. I am grateful that we’re able to openly discuss all kinds of issues, sexual ones among them.

  4. I absolutely agree, Tracy, that this time in a person’s life calls for guidance. In a perfect world, kids would be able to turn to their home or other trustworthy environments where this type of intimate discussion might be more appropriate. However, our reality is that not every parent is approachable, not every home is a safe moral haven, and not every kid has had the type of childhood that would allow them to trust people. It’s important that at least a basic sex education is provided in schools, even if for no other reason than to open up the discussion and allow them to formulate questions which they may later take to their parents or adults they’re comfortable with. It’s the only way to be sure that they will have access to this information, since everyone is required to attend school until the age of 16.
    It’s also true that middle-schoolers haven’t quite developed the level of reasoning required to fully grasp the concept of sex or longterm consequences, but we can’t allow ourselves to avoid the topic entirely in view of a generation where more and more young people are falling into dangerous practices. Now, my mention of physiological needs at this age isn’t so much of an assumption. In essence, all the hormonal and physical changes these kids are starting to undergo are biological cues that say “you’re ready to reproduce.” That means that on a physical level, they’re ready and able to have sex. Of course, as a society, we understand that there’s much more to it than simply that. The vast majority of people are not ready to handle the mental, emotional and societal implications that arise from sexual activity. So the real question is, how can we provide the best guidance so that these kids can learn to make good choices for themselves and avoid serious consequences.

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