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October 18, 2007
Maine School Board Tells 11 year old Girls "It's never too early"
A school committee in Portland, Maine voted to offer contraceptives to girls as young as 11 at a city middle school.
And if you're wondering what their parents might think about the idea, don't worry; the kids don't have to get their permission:
At King Middle School, birth control prescriptions will be given after a student undergoes a physical exam by a physician or nurse practitioner, said Lisa Belanger, who oversees Portland's student health centers. How is this possible, you might ask? What is going on under the radar across the country is the growth of these "School Based Health Care" centers or SBHC's. These centers are set up to dispense health care to kids through the schools, many times simply short circuiting any parental control over their children's health care decisions by claiming "confidentiality." The parent signs a consent form for the SBHC to treat the child. But do they know they're signing away their rights to be kept informed of exactly what kind of treatments or drugs their children are being given?
Students treated at the centers must first get written parental permission, but under state law such treatment is confidential, and students decide for themselves whether to tell their parents about the services they receive.
Five of the 134 students who visited King's health center during the 2006-07 school year reported having sexual intercourse, said Amanda Rowe, lead nurse in Portland's school health centers.
The days of going to the school nurse to get an asprin or fake a fever to get sent home early are long gone. These SBHC's have a powerful advocacy group in Washington - The National Assembly on School Based Health Care (NASBHC). It won't surprise you to learn that these are true believers in "children's rights" and believe that since parents don't talk to their kids about sex and contraception, it is their responsibility to take over in that department:
A supporter, Richard Verrier, said it's not enough to depend on parents to protect their children because there may be students who can't discuss things with their parents. There may be some parents who wish to allow their 11 year old daughter to become sexually active. But that's their business and not the nanny state's.
Condoms have been available since 2002 to King students who have parental permission to be treated at its student health center.
About one-fourth of student health centers that serve at least one grade of adolescents 11 and older dispense some form of contraception, said Mohan, whose Washington-based organization represents more than 1,700 school-based centers nationwide
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky