My turn

Birth control info is 'nothing but good'

Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2000

I can't believe the comments in Word of Mouth about the Teen Health Center at JDHS. The "promotion and dispensing of birth control methods" to students would not send any message, except that there are ways to be safe and they are obtainable. No girl is going to say, "Hey they're handing out condoms, I'm going to lose my virginity!" It's not realistic to think that by providing students with birth control, the center is advertising a sexually active lifestyle. They go into health classes and give presentations to every student that abstinence is very important, but they understand that many teenagers are going to do what they are going to do, regardless.

Perhaps at the center's first meeting, they had no plans to provide students with contraceptives. I don't know, I wasn't there. But I am currently a senior at JDHS and I firmly believe that those services are needed. I know this school and the students in it, and I also know that lots of girls have been helped out of situations by the Health Center staff, who are supportive, understanding, and who respect a student's need for privacy, especially where family members are concerned. I know that many students would not go to their parents if they needed pregnancy tests or ECPs (emergency contraceptive pills, or the morning after pill) or any other kind of help in that area. I agree with the opinion that parents need to be involved in what's going on with their children, but sometimes that's just not going to happen, especially in this case. Thank goodness there is somewhere students can go if they want to stay out of trouble, or if they are already in it and need help. This community needs to understand that if a student decides not to abstain, she needs support, and she may not be able to or may not want to get that from her parents. It may be too late to prevent her from losing her virginity at this age, but the center does everything they can to help girls who are at risk of becoming pregnant.

I think that providing birth control methods at the JDHS Health Center would do nothing but good, for I agree that many cannot or will not go elsewhere to get it, but they will continue to be sexually active. It's not going to send a mixed message, especially since so many other items of the same nature are already available, like ECPs that a girl would need AFTER she's had unprotected sex. Why not go the next step and help to prevent that by providing students with birth control methods? Students already have their own opinions on the matter and realize that the center is always in favor of abstinence, so adding a needed service would not create confusion or change minds. However, it seems some minds in the community need to be changed, so I hope what I've said will help people think differently about the center and its services, because it may be your daughter who needs them, and maybe you can't help her because she won't come to you, but there are people who can help, and they are right at her school.

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