|Back to November Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 262||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||NOVEMBER 2007|
|Prescribing Birth Control Pills for Students|
Middle school students in Portland, Maine will soon have access to birth control prescriptions at school. The Portland School Committee approved a proposal to expand the King Student Health Center's reproductive health program, which has provided condoms for students in 6th through 8th grade since 2000, to include prescriptions for birth control pills and patches.
Student health centers at four area high schools already provide these prescriptions, as well as prescriptions for birth control injections, and even the abortifacient morning-after pill.
Middle school students must have parental permission to be treated at the health center, but by state law may then receive confidential care and choose whether to tell their parents what kind of health care they receive. Of the 500 students at King Middle School, five have reported being sexually active, according to the school's principal.
Only two members of the 12-person committee voted against the measure. Parents were divided, and many spoke passionately at the meeting to decide the issue. "Not every child is getting the guidance needed to keep them safe," said one father who favored the measure. "This is about giving kids who are sexually active the tools that they need." Other parents spoke of their shock at the violation of parental rights entailed in the center's new services.
Of the 1,700 health centers connected to public schools in the U.S., 25-30% provide some form of birth control, ranging from condoms to prescription medicines, to students.