The distribution of birth control in schools is a hot button topic. Many people think that providing students easy access to contraception is a good idea, as it will prevent teenage pregnancies, while others believe that distributing birth control to students will encourage promiscuity. Another issue with distributing birth control in schools is whether the parents need to give consent or not. Students are able to purchase condoms and other non-prescription methods of birth control at drugstores without their parents' consent. However, most respondents in a 2007 AP poll stated that they felt a parent's consent was required before a school could give out contraceptives. Only about five percent of high schools in the United States distribute birth control.
Benefits of Birth Control Distribution in Schools
If schools were to provide easy access to birth control for students, the rate of teenage pregnancy could drop. Making birth control accessible to students goes hand in hand with comprehensive sex education, which many argue is a more effective method of sex education than abstinence only education. Abstinence only education tells students to wait until marriage to have sex. While abstinence does prevent pregnancy, failing to teach students about the risks of sex and to provide them with ways to protect themselves strikes many as a poor idea.
Schools have a responsibility to educate students in the ways of life. A benefit of providing birth control in schools is that the school will be equipping students with the means to protect themselves against any unwanted consequences of teen sex.
Disadvantages of Birth Control Distribution in Schools
People who favor abstinence only education argue that it is not the school's place to distribute birth control and it is most certainly not the school's place to do so without a parent's permission. Some believe that access to birth control will encourage teens to have sex or that it sends a contradictory message. Distributing condoms and providing prescriptions for the pill can send a confusing message to teens, who are being told to postpone sex at the same time they are provided the means to have safer sex.
Where Else to Get Contraception
Teenagers who attend a school that does not distribute birth control can get contraceptives elsewhere if they need to. Condoms can be found on drugstore or grocery store shelves. Public health centers often distribute them for free. Teenage girls who are interested in going on the pill or another hormonal method of birth control need to discuss it with their doctor.
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