According to a report in the Post, over a dozen public schools around the city have begun to give out morning-after pills such as Plan B. So far, students at 13 high schools have received the birth control drugs as part of a new citywide health initiative, CATCH—Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health. “High school students are very sexually active and getting pregnant so we don’t have that luxury to think that they are too young to be engaged in conversations about contraception and sexual education,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told CBS.
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, according to the Department of Health. Parents can opt out of the program, but only about 1 to 2 percent of parents at each school have returned the opt-out sheets, said DOH spokeswoman Alexandra Waldhorn.
Anonymous parents and officials around the city have plenty of opinions about the initiative: “Should the high school or the city pay for it? Are we responsible for that? I don’t think so, but to have a 14-year-old child in that dilemma, that’s not a good situation either,” one woman told CBS. ”I would hope that a 14-year-old girl would have that kind of relationship at least with her mother.” “We can’t give out a Tylenol without a doctor’s order,” one school staffer told the Post. “Why should we give out hormonal preparations with far more serious possible side effects, such as blood clots and hypertension?”
“Girls shouldn’t be sexually active at that age,” said 15-year-old Annette Palacios, who goes to High School of Fashion Industries in Chelsea, one of the schools in the program. “I don’ t want to be a young kid who gets pregnant and can’t find a job,” one of her classmates argued.