NY Post: NYC schools giving teens Plan B pills without parental consent


As I was kicking back to enjoy an afternoon of football, I got an email linking me to a NY Post story,  “NYC schools give out morning-after pill to students — without telling parents. What?! It took me a few seconds to recover my composure and to pick my jaw off the floor.

Through an innocuous sounding program  -- CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health) middle/high school nurses are dispensing the morning-after pill to students!!! A kid can’t get a rotten tooth pulled or an aspirin without parental access. But a they can get a biochemical hormonal cocktail (Plan B, Reclipsen and Depo-Provera) without parents being aware –and ever becoming aware. And get this. Parents have to opt-out, if they want to bar their child from receiving contraceptives or pregnancy tests.  If they don’t sign and return an “opt-out” form, their minor children are presumptively enrolled.  There’s no presumptive approval to take students to the Bronx Zoo or Radio City, except when it comes sexuality education, free contraception, and referral to an abortion clinic.

Parents should have to OPT-IN to enroll their child in a contraceptives and pregnancy tests distribution program. Active, informed consent is usually the norm in health care. Even pharmaceutical ads have to inform consumers of possible side effects and the importance of consulting a physician.

Heck, organ donors have to opt-in on their driver’s license. The government can’t seize your organs once you die in a fatal crash, no matter how the critical the need for kidneys, hearts and lungs.

Just this week, the WSJ reported on the decline in parental involvement in city schools. So much for Chancellor Walcott’s hollow insistence that he wants greater parental involvement. Apparently, parental involvement in health care decisions is exempt.

Plus, who’s paying for this? Medicaid? Taxpayers? New Yorkers didn’t elect Bloomberg to spend their precious tax dollars on providing pregnancy tests, birth control, and Plan B to minors.

I posted this last December when HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius placed age-limits on the availability of Plan B to minor girls. Our autocratic Mayor is now flouting federal regulations for his judgment.

Read what I wrote nine months ago:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued his openness to premature sexual activity by adolescents by publicly airing his disagreement with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘ decision to place age-limits on the availability of Plan B One-Step, the so-called “morning-after” contraceptive, to minor girls.

Mayor Bloomberg said,

 “We’ve had many, too many, unwed births in this country. It would be much better if these young girls didn’t get pregnant.”

Others would argue that it would be better if these young girls didn’t get engage in sexual intercourse in the first place. Over the counter access to Plan B One-Step, as Mayor Bloomberg and his Planned Parenthood allies prefer would enable sexually active girls as young as 11 to “self-abort” after unprotected sex. But Plan B would not protect against STDs, STIs or HIV/AIDS.

“We do, in the city, a lot to try to teach people and inform them of the consequences of being parents and the responsibilities and it would be much better if young girls didn’t get pregnant, but once that happens, I think that this should be available to anybody.” — Michael Bloomberg

In the above statement, Mayor Bloomberg seems to say that Plan B is useful as a post-coital contraceptive. I think he’s advocating that once young teenagers have sexual intercourse, they should freely avail themselves of the “morning-after” pill. So what’s to stop pre-adolescents and adolescents from having sex, if consequences, other than an STD, are washed away with a pill?

Little has changed since last December. Mayor Bloomberg continues to be nanny-in-chief. His judgment is best: from transfats to salty foods to soda to sex ed and now health care decisions.

Join NYC Parents Choice and send your letter, email or social media message opposing this usurpation of parental rights to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Council Speaker Chris Quinn, and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio.

Read “NYC schools give out morning-after pills to students without telling parents” below:

The Department of Education is giving morning-after pills and other birth-control drugs to students at 13 high schools, The Post has learned.

School nurse offices stocked with the contraceptives can dispense “Plan B” emergency contraception and other oral or injectable birth control to girls without telling their parents — unless parents opt out after getting a school informational letter about the new program.

CATCH — Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health — is part of a citywide attack against the epidemic of teen pregnancy, which spurs many girls — most of them poor — to drop out of school.

While Big Apple high schools have long supplied free condoms to sexually active teens, this is the first time city schools have dispensed hormonal birth control and Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.

It might be a nationwide first as well. The National Association of School Nurses could cite no other school district supplying Plan B.

So far, during an unpublicized pilot program in five city schools last year, 567 students received Plan B tablets and 580 students received Reclipsen birth-control pills, the city Department of Health told The Post.

This fall, students can also get Depo-Provera, a birth-control drug injected once every three months, officials said. Oral and injectable contraceptives require prescriptions, which, in the CATCH program, are written by Health Department doctors.

Plan B is typically sold as an over-the-counter medication, but those under age 18 need a prescription. For the CATCH program, students can tell a trained school nurse they had unprotected sex. The student will then get a test to see if she is already pregnant; if not, the prescription is issued and she can walk out with the pill.

The city expanded CATCH to 14 schools with more than 22,000 students over the past year. Officials dropped one, Seward Park Campus in lower Manhattan, because CATCH was overwhelming the medical office.

Parents at the 14 schools were sent letters informing them about CATCH. Parents may bar their kids from getting pregnancy tests or contraceptives if they sign and return an opt-out statement.

If they do not, schools can confidentially give the contraception without permission.

An average 1 to 2 percent of parents at each school have returned the opt-out sheets, said DOH spokeswoman Alexandra Waldhorn.

At the High School of Fashion Industries in Chelsea, where 85 percent of the students are girls, ninth-graders were told about CATCH at summer orientation. Some welcomed it.

“I don’ t want to be a young kid who gets pregnant and can’t find a job,” one cautious freshman told The Post.

A 14-year-old pal agreed. “I would go to the nurse without telling my parents, and I would ask for help,” she said.

But sophomore Annette Palacios, 15, outside the school with her mom, said parents should give consent in case their children are “allergic” to the drugs.

“Girls shouldn’t be sexually active at that age,” she added.

Her mom, Pania, complained that she got no opt-out letter — and does not want Annette to secretly get Plan B or birth-control pills from the nurse. “Parents should know if their daughter is pregnant,” she said.

Teacher Rosa Chavez applauded CATCH, saying she had two pregnant students last year. Getting knocked up, she said, “is not cool and not accepted among peers.”

But Chavez worries that giving girls Plan B emergency contraception might encourage careless sex. “If they made a mistake, they could still do something about it,” she said.

About 28 percent of city students entering ninth grade have already had sex, and more than half are sexually active before completing high school, according to city data. But some school insiders dislike the CATCH program’s lack of parental involvement and fear medical complications.

“We can’t give out a Tylenol without a doctor’ s order,” said a school staffer. “Why should we give out hormonal preparations with far more serious possible side effects, such as blood clots and hypertension?”

The other CATCH schools are: Adlai Stevenson and Grace Dodge in The Bronx; Boys and Girls, Clara Barton, W.H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education, Abraham Lincoln and Paul Robeson in Brooklyn; John Adams, Newcomers, Queens Vocational and Technical, and Voyagers in Queens; and Port Richmond on Staten Island.

Photo courtesy FDFNY

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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9 Responses to NY Post: NYC schools giving teens Plan B pills without parental consent

  1. Geoffrey L. Garfield says:

    On this one, Michael, I am in total, unequivocal, agreement!

    Like

  2. Pingback: New York City high schools giving students morning-after pills and other birth control, without telling parents | THE JEENYUS CORNER « The Jeenyus Corner

  3. Pingback: New York City high schools giving students morning-after pills and … | Avoid Getting Pregnant

  4. Mao Guilbeau says:

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

    Like

  5. Marvin Mcjunkin says:

    STD Testing is something I recommend to all of my friends. I feel it is very important to stay safe and be aware!

    Like

  6. Antione Laselle says:

    I needed self reassurance and STD testing helped me gain some of that confidence.

    Like

  7. Shantelle Haen says:

    STD testing is important for your health! This team made me feel comfortable during my visit.

    Like

  8. Wade Gilham says:

    My best friend was so worried after her unprotected sex. I had to come with her to the clinic so that she could have herself checked.

    Like

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