New York, New York — An exclusive report by the New York Post finds that New York City area schools have been distributing thousands of morning after pills to students — a figure much under-reported by the City last year.
As previously reported, last September, the New York City Department of Education announced that it had expanded a pilot program across thirteen area high schools, which provided free contraceptives to students as young as fourteen years of age. The program is called CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health) and was launched in an effort to prevent teenage pregnancy.
However, the New York Post outlines that the distribution of contraceptives went much farther than the thirteen schools, and that figures were much higher than the 567 recipients that the government had reported.
Instead, approximately 40 additional “school-based health centers” gave away 12,721 Plan B morning-after pills in the 2011-12 school year, up from 10,720 in 2010-11 and 5,039 in 2009-10. Handouts of birth control packets and Depo-Provera nearly doubled. From 2009 through 2012, approximately 22,400 students sought out sexual services from these centers.
In New York, however, students are not mandated to have parental consent before obtaining the drugs. While the Department of Education mailed a notification letter last year to advise parents that the CATCH program was taking effect at their child’s school, which provided the opportunity to opt out their teen if they so desired, the parent may not be notified when their child actually asks for contraception. Only a very small percentage of parents had opted out of the program at the time of its inception. Therefore, some parents may not be aware that their child is sexually active and is using contraceptives to prevent the results of reproductive activity.
The health centers noted in the report reviewed by the Post are operated in conjunction with local hospitals, and last year, the city-founded organization NYCRx reimbursed the centers in the amount of $390,861 in costs for the free contraception that was distributed to students with no health insurance. In addition, approximately 6,300 teenage girls became pregnant out of wedlock just last year, and more than half of them obtained an abortion.
The report claims that the achievements of the City’s program “has been able to place NYC public high school [health centers] on the forefront of the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services.” However, others disagree with the city’s actions and are far from being pleased.
“[B]oth parents and schools should be teaching abstinence, not how to fix promiscuity errors,” concerned citizen Barbara Paolucci declared. “Out of wedlock pregnancies were rare by comparison with the years since sex was taught in the schools.”
Commenter Paula Spagnuolo agreed.
“Just don’t give them a 24 oz. soda and everything will be okay,” she stated sarcastically. “How anyone can even wonder what is to blame for the mess we find ourselves in today in America stuns me. We have turned ourselves into a society where everything is a ‘free for all’ and the government raises our children.”
Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, told the New York Post that she was quite upset as her 14-year-old attends Manhattan high school.
“I’m in shock,” she said. “What gives the mayor the right to decide, without adequate notice, to give our children drugs that will impact their bodies and their psyches? He has purposely kept the public and parents in the dark with his agenda.”