Flutterby™! : Birth control for middle school

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Birth control for middle school

2007-10-18 22:50:26.378946+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Interesting: Portland Maine middle school offers contraception:

While students need written parental permission to be treated at Portland's school-based health centers, state law allows them to receive confidential care for reproductive health, mental health and substance abuse issues.

ABC News version of the story, which claims that:

...by state law, if a student requests confidentiality, health care workers must honor it. Meaning birth control pills could be prescribed without a parent knowing.

Something else I find interesting is that:

Five King students, ages 14 and 15, reported having sexual intercourse last year, said Amanda Rowe, head nurse for Portland schools.

In the last four years, Portland's three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies, not counting miscarriages or terminated pregnancies that weren't reported to the school nurse, Rowe said.

They don't say how many of those were from this school, which, from the pictures of concerned parents at the school board meetings looks pretty white and middle class, but it does suggest that the actual incidents of sexual intercourse may be undercounted. (Update: Another paragraph identifies that "5" as a subset of the 138 visitors to the health center.)

[ related topics: Children and growing up Sexual Culture Health Current Events ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Age at first intercourse made: 2007-10-19 15:44:11.865821+00 by: m

Approximately 14% of females will have had intercourse by age 15.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-19 15:55:17.927137+00 by: Dan Lyke

That number seems reasonable, but I'd guess there's wide variation in that number across schools.

I left this mostly without comment because I think it raises a lot of the right questions, but I don't have many answers to some of those questions.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-19 17:46:30.140159+00 by: JT

Well, when I was having sex at that age, it was commonly thought that you could douche with coca-cola to prevent pregnancy and that if a woman was on top, she couldn't get pregnant. Knowing what I do now, I'd rather my kids learn from the school nurse about what's effective and what's not instead of living on a wing and prayer like most of my friends did. I had sex at the height of the AIDS scare with quite a few young women starting at around age 13, and didn't use a condom until I was 17. On the other hand, maybe if there was an easier way to confidentially get birth control, I would have started using them sooner. Better yet, maybe my two friends who were parents at 16 and 17 may have done things a bit differently.

I'd feel much more comfortable with my kids getting advice from a social worker or a school nurse instead of their friends who know just as little about it as they do. I'd also hope that the school nurses take a lot of time to explain the difference between birth control and STD measures.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-19 19:20:38.367485+00 by: Dan Lyke

Speaking of advice from more knowledgeable sources, have I pimped Scarleteen for sex ed for adolescents recently? Need to put that on our list of recurring donations to worthy causes. Heather Corinna does a lot of worthy work for not nearly enough reward.