“Birth control has been pitched in the United States as an individual solution, rather than a public health strategy, the purpose of oral contraceptives was understood by manufacturers, physicians, and consumers to be the prevention of pregnancy, a basic health care need for women. Since 1990, the content of that message has changed, reflecting a shift in the drug industry’s view of the contraception business” (Watkins, 2012, para. 1). Since 1914, the Birth control movement has been reformed in the United States.
The first clinic to distribute birth control opened in 1923 by Margaret Sanger. There were no arrests or violations made at this time, however; women continued to rely on unsafe sex. In 1942, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America formed, establishing birth control clinics throughout America. Americans have argued about birth control pills and other related issues to regulate population through pregnancy. Distributing birth control pills to schools will not only prevent teen pregnancy but also helps control of the population throughout the country.
The right to use contraception should be available for anyone who is willing whether this is for the young adults, teenagers, and even to married couples who want to wait on building a family or just to have each other for the rest of his or her lives. In this debate, we will discuss the topic of “Should Birth Control be Distributed in Schools”. The argument of whether contraception should or should not be banned in the United States schools systems will be discussed and why we feel it should be legalized and remain legal for anyone who wants to or has a preference to use it.
We will show that statistically, by having birth control available and legal in the schools systems, some positive outcomes result. The opposing argument is that birth control opponents are still fighting and pushing for this mandated law to be put in reverse. Their struggle is to continue to fight and push for birth control to be illegal and banned. Another pro-birth control argument and support of the issues is the Obama administration, who incorporated birth control into health plans for employer’s who elected to include this into the benefits they offered employees.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church and other social conservatives are strongly opposed by this implementation. Hence would be against the legalization of birth control, in our schools. Another pro-birth control movement would be that a small Planned Parenthood office in Mission Viejo, Ca. , that helps uninsured men and women and young adults by providing education and information about safe sex and family planning. This is one of the many organizations in the United States educating American about their reproductive system, testing, and treatment on sexually transmitted disease that cater to the millions who are uninsured.
The New York City Department of Education is also one organizations to distribute the “morning after pill” to students at 13-city high schools. The “Plan B” emergency contraception pill is available at the nurse’s office. This type of contraception is either taken orally or can be injected in the bloodstream. Pro-birth control forces are continually rising and are gaining more acceptance by society. This clearly shows that the government and people of society are giving more empowerment for women to be in control of their own lives and to provide better planning when bringing young babies to this world when they are wanted.
There are several school programs that educate teens on the benefits and importance of remaining abstinent. Facts provide education, which informs teens of the possibility of becoming pregnant as well the possibility of transferring or receiving a sexually transmitted disease. Although education is provided to students, many are still sexually active. The question becomes, “is it appropriate for schools to disperse birth control to students”? There are both pros and cons to this question. The pros are that students get the opportunity to make responsible decisions about their sexual choices.
Studies also show that schools that provide birth control options to students lower their student pregnancy rate. In addition, the Supreme Court ruled that minors do not need to get permission from parents to attain contraceptives (Flynn, 2008, p1. ). This ruling is an important part of this debate because the government sees teen pregnancy as a public problem that requires public solutions. The government seeing teen pregnancy as a public problem forces policies on people and families that may not be comfortable with this decision.
Some believe that providing birth control to students encourages promiscuity. Others have moral, social, and ethical concerns as well as religious concern. Not all schools disperse birth control to their students. States differ significantly in how they approach sexual education and how they elect to disperse birth control at the school-based health center. Sexual education in public schools can range from topics of abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and gaining access to contraceptive services (Flynn, 2008, p1. ).
The benefit of providing teens sexual education programs is it allows them to make the most informed decisions regarding their desire to be sexually active. Some will argue this only entices students to explore sexual behavior and encourages teen sex. This debate will continue for years to come as every action will have a reaction that one agrees with or opposes. At this time, schools are at liberty to dispense birth control; however, states will make revisions or decisions based on the community’s desires as well as local official’s rulings.
The HIPPA privacy rule plays in important role in everyone’s entitlement to privacy concerning health and medical records and treatment. Prior to this rule, many minors would forego medical treatment in fear that their confidentiality would be compromised (English & Ford, 2004, p1. ). The HIPPA rule has helped minors have confidence in seeking medical assistance, but has decreased parent’s rights to know what his or her child is seeking treatment for.
Certain circumstances can enable a parent or personal representative to gain access to minor’s medical records. In these instances, HIPPA privacy rule defers to “state or other applicable law” (English & Ford, 2004, p2. ). The privacy the HIPPA rule offers adolescents is the peace of mind in receiving treatment or consultation. Without this confidentially, minors may not address medical questions or health concerns in a timely manner. In 2010, a public school in Alexandria, Va. , called T. C.
Williams High School, there was an offsite clinic that was three blocks down the street of the high school called the “Adolescent Health Center” that was move from its spot since 1986 right into the school. They re-titled the clinic the “Teen Wellness Center”, and it had a full-time doctor and nurse. The idea was to help improve test scores and teen behaviors at this school. Two years prior to the clinic moving, the school had 50 teen pregnancies, the year it was on campus, the school reported 35 pregnancies, and currently there were only 20 with two-thirds of the year complete, when this study was done.
These numbers are a testimony to add to the argument that providing teen assistance or the abilities to obtain contraception, health care, education, and counseling regarding sexual education help change the behaviors of teens to make good decisions. There is no question that teens will have sexual relations during their high school years. Although many states recognize this and support providing contraception in schools, it is still a strong debate topic. Helping to change the behaviors of teens at schools regarding sexual contact with each other and contraceptive use should go hand-in-hand with real life education on the topic.
The actions taken at T. C. Williams High School is a good example of coupling the topic with the right resources to help teens understand impact, cost, and care for small babies, and the life-changing factors that accompany teens who get pregnant while in high school. For instance, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, just half of girls who had children before age 18 graduate from high school, and less than 2% earn a college degree by age 30 (USA Today, 2012).
These statistics show the impact on that portion of girls who do not graduate from high school. Not only does it have an impact on the girls who do not graduate high school because of teen pregnancy but also how this can also affect society by bringing in more babies to the world, when the teen girls themselves are still in an adolescent stage of life. This is why programs as in Alexandria can make a difference on improving behaviors to help teens get the proper education, assistance, and health related care and counseling to avoid teen pregnancy.
Although the debate to provide contraception at public schools continues, it may be becoming more accepted to help change the behaviors of teens sexually active in high school’s today. There are many issues surrounding the controversial topic of schools providing birth control for their student population. Promoting abstinence until marriage as opposed to distributing contraceptives remains a philosophical dilemma between the progressives and the conservatives. Also the privacy of the student comes into question because they are a minor during school.
Finally, the question arises of why schools disperse birth control in the first place and the ease of access to contraceptives. Although introduced in the early twentieth century as a solution to unplanned pregnancies, birth control medication remains a hotly contested subject in the American political arena today. Through the passing of time, American culture has evolved, and the positive messages provided by birth control advocates has changed. As a result, the drug industry’s mentality has also shown a shift.
Larger issues loom, such as sexual education of the youth, and population regulation as critical discussion points on the issue. It is highly unlikely that the debate over whether or not birth control should be provided and distributed by schools will end soon, it is one that will continue to change over time. As America moves into the twenty-first century, the time for education and progressivism is now. Socio- economic and cultural factors will show that there is a need for birth control medication in America’s school system.
Amory, J. K. (2011, October). A history of the birth control movement in America. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 121(10), 3782-3782. EBSCOhost Discovery Service
English, A., & Ford, C. A. (2004, Mar/Apr). The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Adolescents: Legal Questions and Clinical Challenges. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 36(2), 80-86. EBSCOhost Discovery Service.
Flynn, S. I. (2008). Dispensing Birth Control in Public Schools. Dispensing Birth Control in Public Schools — Research Starters Education, (), 1-1. EBSCOhost Discovery Service.
Watkins, E. S. (2012, August). How the PILL Became a LIFESTYLE DRUG: The Pharmaceutical Industry and Birth Control in the United States Since 1960. American Journal of Public Health, (), EBSCOhost Discovery Service.
Welsh, p. (2012, April). Why schools give birth control. USA Today, (),EBSCOhost Discovery Service.