NEW YORK — A free phone app being offered to teens in New York City provides information on where youth can obtain sexually-related services, including abortions, contraceptives and homosexual counseling.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been offering the app on its website, as well as a .pdf version of the guide. The .pdf version features a teen couple on the cover with the words “my birth control and his condoms.”
“Teens in NYC have the right to sexual health services without getting permission from parents, girlfriends/boyfriends or anyone else,” it states.
“Use this guide to find a health care provider that you like. If you are not happy, ask to see another provider or try another clinic in the list,” the document continues. “Keep looking until you find a good match. You deserve it!”
The guide then lists possible services, such as free or low-cost condoms, birth control, morning-after pills, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, pregnancy testing, abortion and homosexual-specific services. It also features quotes from teens about their personal experiences with using the services.
“It felt good to be able to talk about sex and get information without feeling embarrassed,” says one teen named Lisa, age 14.
“I got the IUD cuz it lasts a whole five years,” states Alexis, age 18. “I want kids, but not til I graduate college.”
For those using the app, the GPS feature on the teen’s phone will search out the closest locations for the services requested, including Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn and the Margaret Sanger Center.
Sexually-related promotional videos also accompany the app, which likewise feature teens speaking of their sexual lives. One girl featured in a six-minute video talks about how she originally believed in saving sex for marriage, but gave in to her boyfriend.
“I didn’t want to freak out Lewis and make him think that I regretted it, because I didn’t,” she says. “But, by the end of the day, I was really panicking. I don’t want to get pregnant right now. There’s too much else I want to do.”
The girl then goes to a local clinic, where she is offered contraception.
“I was so relieved,” she says. “I took the two pills right then. Then, I met with a social worker, and she said if I wanted to keep having sex I needed to use a condom, plus another kind of birth control that works with your hormones.”
New York City has one of the highest teen abortion rates in the nation. As previously reported, the city has also been distributing free contraceptives in a number of area high schools through its CATCH program, which is meant to prevent teen pregnancy.
“Just don’t give them a 24 oz. soda and everything will be okay. How anyone can even wonder what is to blame for the mess we find ourselves in today in America stuns me,” commented a concerned citizen. “We have turned ourselves into a society where everything is a ‘free for all’ and the government raises our children.”