Stealth program in NY city supplies teens with 'morning after' pill
I don't object to birth control given to teenage girls -- as long as parents approve and a doctor dispenses them. Nor do I think it objectionable to give the so-called Plan B "morning after pill" to teenage girls - as long as it is done with the consent of the parents and under the supervision of a doctor.
But handing a prescription drug out like it was candy is irresponsible and insane - as the city of New York is doing, apparently dosing thousands of kids without the knowledge of the parents.
Many states do not require the consent of a parent for a teenager to get contraceptives. But the NY schools don't require a doctor to OK a prescription for contraceptives or Plan B. If the kid smokes, does the school nurse warn them of the danger of blood clots from most pills? Are they told about the adverse effects of Plan B? This is insanely dangerous.
Plan B has become Plan A in the Bloomberg administration's stealth war on teen pregnancy.
Handouts of the "morning-after pill" to sexually active students have skyrocketed under an unpublicized project in which health centers in public schools offer girls a full menu of free birth-control drugs and devices, records obtained by The Post show.
Last September, the city revealed it had started giving out Plan B and other birth control in the nurses' offices of 13 high schools. At the time, officials said 567 girls had gotten Plan B.
But the birth-control blitz was much bigger than the city had acknowledged. About 40 separate "school-based health centers" doled out 12,721 doses of Plan B in 2011-12, up from 10,720 in 2010-11 and 5,039 in 2009-10, according to the newly released data.
About 22,400 students sought reproductive care from January 2009 through last school year, records show. Under state law, minors don't need parental OKs to get contraceptives.
The revelations stunned Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, whose 14-year-old attends a 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."
Davids, who is black, noted that most school-based health centers are in poor neighborhoods.
"This was population control on blacks and Latinos without our knowledge," she said.
Plan B, which can block pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after sex, is just one weapon in the city Department of Health's arsenal for its Reproductive Health Project, an internal report reveals.
Besides "emergency contraception," about 40 school-based clinics have dispensed prescriptions for birth-control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormone-delivering injections and Patch and NuvaRing - covering a total 93,569 monthly cycles through June 2012, the report says.
Plan B is available only by prescription to girls under 18, and yet no prescription is written in the New York schools. The nurse determines if the teen is pregnant and if not, the Plan B pill is given no questions asked.
Apparently parents could opt out of the program by signing a release. But if a kid wants the pill, is the nurse really going to refuse them?
There's a reason birth control pills are not dispensed without a prescription from a doctor. Presumably, the physician examines the patient to make sure that she is healthy enough to take them, and also explains the risks. This is not the case in New York, and the fact that it isn't should worry parents.
Teen pregnancy in inner city schools is an epidemic. Perhaps contraceptives are part of the answer - but not at the expense of the safety of children.