Prescribe ‘the pill’ at middle school? **UPDATE**

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly.

I am still in shock after reading this story. I can’t believe some of the things that happen in our country today. Did any of you know that in Portland Maine it might be possible for middle school age girls to get birth control pills (and/or other forms of birth control) without their parents knowledge? I have a middle school age daughter so this hits home to me.

Students who have parental permission to be treated at King Middle School’s health center would be able to get birth control prescriptions under a proposal that the Portland School Committee will consider Wednesday.

Although students must have written parental permission to be treated at Portland’s school-based health centers, state law allows them to seek confidential health care and to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive, Belanger said.

This has not been approved yet but once it is (if it is) then any student whose parents give permission for him/her to be treated at the school heath center will have birth control made available to them without having to get permission from their parents. Remember, these are middle school students (ages 11-14). How many of us want to allow our children to make medical decisions on their own? I sure don’t!! The state of Maine seems to think that minor children have a right to privacy or confidentiality. Do you?

“I’m personally fine with it, but I know some parents might not be,” said Jennifer Southard, wife of City Councilor Edward Suslovic, who has two daughters at King. “I think information and access are good things. I would hope my children would come to me, but some students might not have that option.”

This woman has two kids in the school that is proposing to do this. What is her reaction? She is fine with it….she is fine with her minor daughters making medical decisions without her knowledge. I am stunned. I almost don’t know how to react to this. She “hopes” that her children would come to her but she is okay if they don’t. She is okay with not knowing what her medical situations (birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy tests, flu shots, etc.) her minor daughters may have had. I am not okay with this. I can’t imagine how any parent who loves their kids can be okay with this.

Belanger said health center workers encourage students to tell their parents about their health center experiences, but by law they cannot compel students to do so or inform parents without the student’s consent.

This is not good enough. The health centers should be contacting the parents every visit the child makes to the health center. The parents consent should be obtained before any and every (excluding emergencies, of course) medical procedure, test, or consultation.

What do you all think? Is this something that should be expanded to the rest of the country or have they gone too far in Maine? I vote that they have gone WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY too far.

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Update: Oct. 18, 2007

As expected. The program was approved. Can you believe this attack on parental rights. Click here to read the story. Why did they decide to do this?

After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow allow one school’s health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.

Rather than deal with the problem, rather than make the tough decisions, rather than trying to teach kids that they should not be having sex that young…what do they do? They take the easy road. They basically say “kids are going to do it anyway so we might as well help them to do it safely”. That is an action taken in fear!! They are unwilling to take a stand for right and wrong. As long as we continue to have people who think like this our country is in real trouble. It is time we as Christians stand up and take back our country….and it starts with a commitment to prayer. I call on everyone who reads this to pray for God to send a revival to our country. Only then can we eradicate this kind of thinking.

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8 Responses to Prescribe ‘the pill’ at middle school? **UPDATE**

  1. As you say, allowing minors to make these kinds of decisions is incredible. Middle schoolers needing the pill at all is an indicator of a greater problem.

    That having been said, there is a reason for allowing student confidentiality, and this has to do with what I like to call “the other side”.

    You and most parents want the best for their kids, and it’s reasonable to want those parents to know what’s going on. But there are kids that come from homes where the parents don’t care, are abusive, or may even become so angry at the situation as to kick their kids out of the house.

    It’s tough, because optimally, you want the loving parents to have the knowledge, and the abusive parents not to. Unfortunately, the law can’t differentiate, so has to fall on one side or the other.

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  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Here’s the issue: Should we let middle schoolers have sex without contraception and professional medical advice, or should we get good medical advice and contraception to middle schoolers who are having sex?

    These services go to kids who are already sexually active in about 90% of the cases. While I agree that sex at that age is unwise, and that collectively the number of kids having sex at that age is a national tragedy, I disagree that the solution is to deprive them of good medical advice that can save their lives and is the proven best method to get them to stop having sex.

    The question is, do we love these sexually precocious kids enough to give them the best care, or do we turn a blind eye to them?

    Why do you think turning a blind eye to the kids is “dealing with the problem?” What part of “fix the failure” is it you don’t understand?

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  3. annie says:

    Hi Tom. Found you through Mr Egg Product up there. Hope you don’t mind!

    I was raised in an extremely conservative Asian household. At 16, I rebelled and dated a foreign exchange student who liked drugs. Despite this, the only thing I learned from him was excellent Spanish.

    It’s up to us to parent our kids…not, for the love of God, the state. It shouldn’t matter what laws are out there. If we do our jobs, our kids WILL come to us (or in my case, learn something, at least!). My parents could have done a better job of being more “available”, but their words protected me. That’s our job, to teach our kids.

    Never mind the laws. Our kids are our own. And your daughter will be fine. Seems like she has great parents. 🙂

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  4. Tom says:

    Annie,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I agree that it is completely our job to parent our kids…the state needs to stay out of it but the problem has come from so many parents not doing their job, so the state stepped in. Once they are in..it is nearly impossible to get them back out.

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  5. Tom says:

    Ed Darrell said

    Here’s the issue: Should we let middle schoolers have sex without contraception and professional medical advice, or should we get good medical advice and contraception to middle schoolers who are having sex?

    This is NOT the issue. This issue is how do we stop the “national tragedy”. You stated the issue properly with this comment

    While I agree that sex at that age is unwise, and that collectively the number of kids having sex at that age is a national tragedy

    I disagree that the solution is to deprive them of good medical advice that can save their lives and is the proven best method to get them to stop having sex.

    The question is, do we love these sexually precocious kids enough to give them the best care, or do we turn a blind eye to them?

    Why do you think turning a blind eye to the kids is “dealing with the problem?” What part of “fix the failure” is it you don’t understand?

    The best solution is an abstinence program. Abstinence works every time it is tried. No one is suggesting turning a blind eye to these “sexually precocious kids“. Telling them that “since you are going to do it anyway, at least do it safely” is not the answer. That is letting them down. That is a cop-out. That is abdicating our parental roles. States cannot fix this failure. This is something parents have to do. It is time we step up as citizens and take responsibility for ourselves and our kids.

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    They are already sexually active. Preaching abstinence is, in effect, turning a blind eye to them. They need information on how to avoid disease, they need pregnancy avoidance information, they need counseling. You say, ‘tell ’em to stop.’

    Study after study for 20 years has shown that if we want kids to take up abstinence after they are already sexually active, a program of education on prophylaxis — condoms, that is — together with solid information on sexuality and how it affects people, works. Preaching abstinence fails.

    Saying ‘parents ought to do it’ is one more way of turning a blind eye. If parents were able to, they already would have.

    So I’m curious: You advocate using methods proven not to work, and you get worked up when I suggest methods proven to work.

    When do you start taking responsibility? The kids are sexually active. Should we tell them how to avoid disease or not?

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  7. annie says:

    WELLLL…..

    I am going to preach abstinence to my own children. But I will also be telling them all about birth control and STDs and the whole nine yards. Now I will say that *I* want to be the one to do this, and not the schools…but I will settle for being the FIRST one to tell them about it. I am resigned that sex education is here to stay, and I will work with it.

    I will say that my parents preached abstinence until they were blue in the face, but lemme tell you, if I hadn’t learned WHY to abstain (from school), I would have gotten into a lot of trouble. But thanks to a combo of parental guidance and public schooling (and the grace of God, ahem), I made excellent choices. Namely, I abstained.

    Tom, you said it – once the states have their spoons in broth, it’s really hard to get them out of the kitchen. But. I just caution you to talk to your kids…make nothing forbidden to talk about. Or, it just becomes all that more alluring. Better to learn from you than from a disinterested gym teacher, or God forbid…their friends.

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  8. Tom says:

    Ed Darrel said

    They are already sexually active. Preaching abstinence is, in effect, turning a blind eye to them. They need information on how to avoid disease, they need pregnancy avoidance information, they need counseling. You say, ‘tell ‘em to stop.’

    Two things here that you are missing. First, middle school students having sex is an indication of the moral decline in our country. To fix the problem, the moral issue must be addressed. The first step in addressing the moral issue is telling them (and compelling them) to stop having sex. People who want to teach them how to do it in a way to avoid disease and pregnancy is also and indication of the moral decline in our country.

    Second, it is illegal in our country for middle school age children to be having sex….with anyone of any age. Why were these cases not referred to the local police. This would be a great deterrent. It would supply some consequences to the choices they are making. Would you not agree that the application of the consequences should be done?

    Ed Darrel said

    Saying ‘parents ought to do it’ is one more way of turning a blind eye. If parents were able to, they already would have.

    This is another problem in our country today. Parents can but many choose not to. Why? Because they want to be friends with their kids instead of parents. This is also a moral issue…people do not understand their God-given responsibilities when they are blessed with kids.

    Ultimately kids have to make their own choices…parents cannot be with them all day every day. Kids have to be taught right from wrong and the consequences of making wrong choices. People don’t want to suffer the consequences of their choices and when we do we learn to make better choices. It is time we put the consequences back into our children’s lives!!

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