Author Topic: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill  (Read 3474 times)

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Offline Quesi

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NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« on: September 23, 2012, 02:44:23 PM »
This is very interesting.  A group of NYC public high schools are trying out a program in which girls can speak with a "trained nurse" if they are concerned about an incident of unprotected sex, and if in the appropriate time frame, the nurse can give the girls the morning after pill, Plan B.

Apparently they sent home an "opt out" letter to parents.  Parents who DO NOT want their child to have access to birth control or the Plan B pill may sign a form saying that they do not give their permission.  Of course, the newspaper found a mom who said she had not gotten an opt out letter.  But it is an interesting issue.

As a mom, I would hope that my daughter would/could talk to me.  I hope that we can always speak honestly, and that she would trust me enough to talk about an unexpected, unprotected sexual encounter.   And I hope that I make condoms available to her long before she is sexually active, so that she does not find herself in a sexual situation without protection.   But realistically, I know that kids often (usually?) don't tell their parents about sex. 

I like the "opt out" model.  If I got a letter like that, it would be a great opportunity to sit down and talk and say "I hope you can always talk honestly with me, but if there is ever a time that you think you can't, you can talk to someone at school, because I am not taking the "opt out" option."   And then use the opportunity to talk about more complex sexual issues.     

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/city_schools_plan_UoW7ke5l2KRwg43nHzt97H

What do other people think? 

Offline Nick

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 02:56:24 PM »
Quesi,
  You sound like a reasonable, caring, responsible parent.  Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mom.  I'm sure the program will be looked at as a progressive, socialist, evil thing by the right.  The girl who finds herself in this situation should have the kid so society can take care of it down the road.  Young people need someone they can feel comfortable with talking.  Most can't talk to their parents (if they even have parents).
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Offline on:bread:alone

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 03:03:49 PM »
my ex fiancee and i had to use that morning after pill like three seperate times (we were pretty heavy drinkers and hedonists to boot). we never had any pregnancies, but it would screw her up hormonally for a few days. all in all, i'm all for any kind of birth control (to be perfectly frank, i wouldn't mind seeing breeding licenses and laws implementing euthanasia). the world is far too overpopulated.
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Offline Nick

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 03:24:18 PM »
Well, we do have the death panels in Obama Care. ;)
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Offline wright

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 03:41:42 PM »
It would of course be preferable for all adolescents to feel able to discuss their sex lives with their parents, but as Quesi points out, that often isn't the case. I applaud the policy makers in NY who had the courage to give kids and their parents this option. It's an notable step forward for such a program to even be tried in the US.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 04:46:46 PM »
It would of course be preferable for all adolescents to feel able to discuss their sex lives with their parents, but as Quesi points out, that often isn't the case. I applaud the policy makers in NY who had the courage to give kids and their parents this option. It's an notable step forward for such a program to even be tried in the US.

And it would also be preferable for kids (and grown ups, onbreadalone!) to plan out their sexual encounters and to be prepared with protection.  But we all know that sexual decisions are not always well-thought out. 

I can hope she is prepared.  Emotionally prepared.  Physically prepared.  And I can hope that she is open with me.  Most of all, I hope that her decision to become sexually active is HER decision, and not pressure from either peers or a prospective sexual partner.  But there is a point at which her actions will be her actions, and all I can do is help prepare her to make good decisions. 

Offline on:bread:alone

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 05:25:48 PM »
=)

what can i say? we were young, reckless, and totally hot for each other. plus we had a thing for public places, and its typically not the best idea to ask the waiter for a rubber before you go bump uglies in the bathroom.

i will agree though that an open line of communication between parents and children here would be preferable. i never had an issue discussing my sexual conquests (amongst other eccentricities) with my parents, largely because it was easier than having them on my back about things. plus i'm all about honesty, even if it's brutal and painful. i'd rather tell my mother i'm a promiscuous intravenous drug abuser than have her sit up and worry at night about whether or not her child is a promiscuous intravenous drug abuser.
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Offline kindred

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 09:59:28 PM »
Thats good. I don't really care for the kids themselves but the children that will be born if they aren't reigned in deserve a bit better.

Consequences for having sex without the forethought and planning would be nice but the babies born under other poeple's stupidity really shouldn't have to deal with consequences that are not of their actions. What can you do? There will always be idiots, might as well minimize the damage they might do to others.
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Offline Kimberly

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 12:20:48 PM »
I would feel more comfortable with this if it was an opt-in program. I don't know about all children but I imagine several would prevent their parents from even seeing the letter. So being allowed to "opt out" is null if you never knew it existed to start with.

Similarly I think you would have to be an "absent" parent to not know about the school's policy. Either that or the school has poor practices. Our local health department gives out the flu mist to all students whose parents "opt-in". They send home a written letter, call to inform you of the letter, and send multiple emails about the letter and an online form you can use to give consent. Sometimes it annoys me how thorough our school is but then I hear about stories like this and I'm glad they are.

I don't want anyone giving my children medication with out my consent. I don't feel like I should have to opt-out to revoke my consent. I want to be able to actively give consent and don't ever want my consent to be assumed.

This may sound a little prudish when considering how unlikely it is that a sexually active teenager will want to seek consent. Or how many unwanted pregnancies can be avoided because a child is afraid to get consent. But I feel as though it's my right as a parent to make the decision as to who gives my children medication.

That being said. Both my daughters will be raised in home where they won't have to fear bringing home these types of letters. How they choose to respond to my open mindedness is yet to be determined. But the door will be open.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 08:44:07 PM »
What do other people think?

Well, you are reasonable. However, here in Hometown America this type of plan would be liked about as much as setting off IEDs in the mall at noon on Black Friday.

Personally, I think the plan is just fine. I have already had such discussions with my daughter and I am on the local Family Life Advisory Council through our board of ed which is the place where this type of thing (plus many others) are discussed and decided (with final approval by the board of ed members). Most of us on the council applied for the job with personal narratives and were hand-picked. We were told that we were picked because we are more enlightened, which is to say, reasonable -- we don't automatically eliminate ideas just because they don't fit preset ideas. Nevertheless, we have to make decisions on birth control education and availability while keeping in mind the objections of parents who are less enlightened, typically self-described as "conservative" and often overtly religious.

Where I have lived for the past 25 years, the attitudes and awareness of citizens have progressed because of an influx of more educated and liberal citizens, who came right along with the building boom. Our schools are performing well, not only above national averages but in some cases we are topping the ranking for all schools in the state. During the last school year one of the last questions we dealt with was how many parents choose to opt-out their children entirely from the sex education classes. Our council was informed that only two parents opted-out their children from sex education classes. With an enrollment of over 40,000 children K-12, having only two parents opt-out made me realize that the board of ed was being more conservative than the parents. But, the board also has to deal with an elected county commission that is quite conservative, and those commissioners hold the purse strings on a lot of school funding.

Nevertheless, the idea that your child could, essentially, have an abortion without you repels most parents. (It matters not than Plan B is not necessarily a chemically-induced abortion procedure, but the possibility that it might be is morally objectionable to some parents.) Worse, what I have seen in the community is that when a daughter becomes pregnant most of them do not get abortions. They are encouraged to keep the offspring -- the children of the children are not even offered up for adoption. The parents or grandparents take care of the newborn if their teenagers-turned-mothers cannot. But, I can't say that this happens a lot to begin with. I think the kids, mostly, are getting what they need to avoid having children.

As you can imagine, my experience is not normal. Even though it's Hometown America, it's not rural heartland. The progressiveness of New York City will take a while to filter down to Hometown America. It can't be soon enough, in my opinion.


Just a snapshot from elsewhere.




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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 11:39:40 PM »
So here we have a situation where Alexa Gonzalez can now be administered, basically what amounts to, an "abortion pill" without her parents even knowing about it when just a couple of years ago she was arrested and put into handcuffs for writing on her desk.

Kinda sends a mixed signal to the kids, me thinks.

"Hey kids, if you want to engage in sexual activity...we're cool with that, your secret is safe with us. Here is a pill that will most likely screw up your hormonal balance for a few days and there could be some serious side effects including vomiting and Ectopic pregnancy...we're not sure because it was never tested on minors, however we won't tell your parents if you don't want us to...BUT DON'T YOU DARE WRITE ON OUR MOTHER FUCKING DESKS!"
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 11:47:34 PM by Mr. Blackwell »
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Offline Fiji

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 01:34:37 AM »
^^ or yet, "We know you're engaging in unsafe sex, regardless of what we say. We're sorry for not providing you with adequate sex-ed. Now, if you get pregnant we've got a pill that will royally mess you up for a few days but at least you won't get pregnant."
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Offline LadyLucy

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 02:21:14 AM »
I say, good for them. They are being responsible at the first week of pregnancy. If they didn't plan on it and it has only been one and a half week, it is just a sac trying to evolve into a human. I would take Plan B if I got pregnant. I am not planning on another child.


Offline pianodwarf

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 09:25:13 AM »
So here we have a situation where Alexa Gonzalez can now be administered, basically what amounts to, an "abortion pill" without her parents even knowing about it when just a couple of years ago she was arrested and put into handcuffs for writing on her desk.

Kinda sends a mixed signal to the kids, me thinks.

Well, it does and it doesn't.  The big difference is that if a fourteen-year-old girls gets caught writing on her desk and has the incident reported to her parents, the odds of her parents beating the crap out of her are slim.  (Not zero, perhaps, but slim.)  That can be a very real risk for a girl the same age who gets pregnant.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 06:49:41 PM »
I am on the local Family Life Advisory Council through our board of ed , <snip>  Most of us on the council applied for the job with personal narratives and were hand-picked.

What is this and who picked you?

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Offline Chronos

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2012, 07:51:04 PM »
I am on the local Family Life Advisory Council through our board of ed , <snip>  Most of us on the council applied for the job with personal narratives and were hand-picked.

What is this and who picked you?

The state requires that every Board of Ed have a committee (council) to review instructional materials, comment on appropriateness and discuss various viewpoints of sex education, disease prevention and legal issues (involving sexual behaviors) for introduction of sex education to students from grades 8 through 12 (and parents who wish to attend the classes). This allows each council to choose what is appropriate for the county it serves (politics).

Any parent with a child attending public school is welcome to apply to the council for a 2-year term, but only 20 are selected (because routinely only 12 can make it and we need a quorum). The head of the committee, the head of curriculum selection and a county school board member (sponsor) review the applications and choose members of the council.

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2012, 09:06:19 PM »
So here we have a situation where Alexa Gonzalez can now be administered, basically what amounts to, an "abortion pill" without her parents even knowing about it when just a couple of years ago she was arrested and put into handcuffs for writing on her desk.

Kinda sends a mixed signal to the kids, me thinks.

Well, it does and it doesn't.  The big difference is that if a fourteen-year-old girls gets caught writing on her desk and has the incident reported to her parents, the odds of her parents beating the crap out of her are slim.  (Not zero, perhaps, but slim.)  That can be a very real risk for a girl the same age who gets pregnant.

Yeah, I know...protect the living, fuck the unborn. But listen, that is not my primary concern. The Zero Tolerance program is absolutely horrible.

Before that program was implemented writing on the desk would garner you some face time with the principle, a penalty or staying after school to clean desks. Maybe the parent would be notified, maybe not. Now they can flippen arrest your child put them in handcuffs and cart them away for processing and who knows how much all that costs...you don't think there are very many parents who would be furious about that?

I would be disappointed in my child for defacing government property but I would be absolutely livid with rage at the school system if they did this to my child.

If I ever found out that the school system gave my teenage daughter a pill which was not designed for developing young teens and has potentially life threatening side effects. I would be disappointed with my daughter for having unprotected sex but I would create a hit list of the school officials who administered such a drug to my child.

This is not an issue that can be covered with a blanket. One size does not fit all but here is an anecdote for you.

My wife had a friend who had two or three abortions in Jr. High and a couple more in high school before she dropped out to raise her 5th or 6th child her parents refused to kill abort.  As Obama would say...her parents punished her with a child.

Flash forward to today and imagine that scenario. The girls parents would never know how many times their daughter was engaging in unprotected sex.

A parent who opts in[1] to this program or doesn't even realize that there is a program effectively tells their daughter that they don't want to be involved in one of the most important life changing decisions a child can make on their quest towards becoming an adult, especially when those same kids can be expelled for giving aspirin to their friends or drawing a picture of a gun.

There is no real measure of protection for kids from abusive parents, true. But that does not mean that the government should be able to take responsibility over my child's reproductive rights. By taking responsibility I mean it in a legal sense because we are talking worst case scenarios now.

If a school nurse administers Plan B to a 14 year old girl who is nervous because she had unprotected sex and that girl develops a potentially life threatening side effect such as an Ectopic pregnancy...no matter how rare that may be, if it does happen and the child dies due to complications from that pregnancy because they are too afraid or to naive to realize what's happening to their bodies to tell anybody...is the school going to take responsibility if that child dies?

Yeah, a girl could have the crap beat out of her by her parents if they find out she was having unprotected sex and got pregnant. But I would like to see your data on that because my perception is not as severe as yours about that issue.   

That is to say, I don't think that happens often enough to provide a counter balance for the potential health risks involved with giving teenagers a powerful hormone drug.

Sorry, my brain is like a bag full of cats tonight. This whole thing just smacks of hypocrisy. There is more I want to touch on but I am out of time.



 1. Opting in by not explicitly opting out is an extremely dubious business practice
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2012, 09:10:25 PM »
Thank you Chronos. I googled Family Life Advisory Council and couldn't find anything with that specific title.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2012, 07:25:26 AM »
Thank you Chronos. I googled Family Life Advisory Council and couldn't find anything with that specific title.

No, it's not likely googleable because it is buried in Maryland law and education code. There are no websites for FLACs because that would just attract a lot of ... flack.  The only thing that ever comes out is an email to parents signed up for Board of Ed notices and we get a mention at the Board of Ed meeting where our findings are presented.  Better to stay under radar.
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Offline Bad Pear

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2012, 06:09:37 PM »
This seems like a big step in the right direction.

However, I can't help but see a bit of irony in giving parents the right to opt out for their kids with respect to something that is seemingly intended for kids who don't have the option of seeking alternative help from said parents. IMO if this is going to be made available then it should be between the young woman and the school physician and no one else. My heart aches for the poor daughter of the religious wackjobs who, but for her parents signing a piece of paper, could have had a means of avoiding an unplanned pregnancy.
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Offline Nick

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2012, 07:46:01 PM »
This is one of the topics on FOX Bill O'Really tonight.  You can imagine which side they are on. >:(
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2012, 07:56:32 PM »
This is a hard issue with no perfect solution. I don't like the idea of my teen daughter getting Plan B without me knowing about it. Side effects are rare but still....

Suppose she starts bleeding or passes out in the middle of the night, and I don't even know what to tell the paramedics? Then I think about all the side effects of unprotected sex besides pregnancy--AIDS, herpes, other STD's. Yikes. I want my teen baby girl to be zipped into a full-body condom until age 25.  :o

Most young women who think they are pregnant will talk to a responsible adult, usually a parent. Ideally they will go over their options and make a decision about how to proceed: many people decide to continue with the pregnancy and try to raise the child, regardless of the impact on the girl and her future.  Others (not as many as in the past, where authorities routinely took the baby from the girl's arms and she never saw it again) try to arrange for an adoption. And some will decide to have an abortion. There are no other possibilities.
 
A pregnancy is a big deal. It is more risky to a woman's health than any birth control method, and is the most life-threatening health issue most women face. Having a baby is also a big deal, and it is a lot to expect that a teenaged girl can realistically evaluate a 20+ year personal, legal, financial and emotional committment to another human being.

Most of us would agree that most 15 or 16 years olds are not mature enough to sign a rental lease, or to get married. But they are supposed to be able to take on the awesome responsibility of producing a functioning human being? Of course, in most of the situations that I personally know of, it is the grandparents (mainly grandmother)  and other relatives who end up raising the baby. Sometime it works out fine and sometimes not.

I am radically pro-choice because I value babies and women's lives more than I value unformed masses of cells. But I honestly don't know how I would feel if my own daughter took Plan B without me knowing. :-\
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Offline Nick

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2012, 09:33:57 PM »
Where I live it would be rare for a girl to talk to a parent about this.  Lots don't even have parents.  They have occupants.  I'm glad the school is trying to look out for these forgotten kids.  We don't need more unwanted kids in this world.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 07:31:51 AM »
Yeah, a girl could have the crap beat out of her by her parents if they find out she was having unprotected sex and got pregnant. But I would like to see your data on that because my perception is not as severe as yours about that issue.

"The minority [about ten percent] of teens who do not voluntarily consult a parent [when they get pregnant] generally have good reasons not to. Many come from families where such an announcement would only exacerbate an already volatile or dysfunctional family situation. One study showed that 22% of teens who did not tell a parent about their abortion decision feared that, if they told their parents, they would be kicked out of the house. More than 8% feared that they would be physically abused because their parents had beaten them before. Of those who did not tell a parent, 12% did not live with either parent and 14% had parents who abused drugs or alcohol. (Henshaw & Kost.)"

Source:
http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/laws-restricting-teenagers-access-abortion
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2012, 10:28:25 AM »
This sounds like a half measure to me, but a step in the right direction.

It all depends on what we want to care about the most.  The issue of teen pregnancy can't be entirely about pregnancy, because despite the confusion it's actually relatively easy to prevent.  Girls could get birth control, an IUD, carry condoms or wear chastity belts.  Guys could use condoms, get a (reversible) vasectomy or presumably some kind of male hormonal pill could be developed.  Failing that, there are the obvious ways to get rid of the egg as well.

If we really wanted to stop it dead in it's tracks we'd make some form of birth control mandatory until the age of adulthood.  That would end the tens of thousands of unwanted children, the tends of thousands of abortions yearly.  We don't though, the very idea is usually treated as anathema.

What we see when we look at the issue of teen pregnancy, I think is that it's more of a control issue on the part of the parents.  My prediction is that this is where the majority of the resistance to the idea will come from.

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Offline Kimberly

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 01:05:10 PM »
This sounds like a half measure to me, but a step in the right direction.

I agree with you. I would like to know what preventative measures are in place as well.

Girls could get birth control, an IUD, carry condoms or wear chastity belts.  Guys could use condoms, get a (reversible) vasectomy or presumably some kind of male hormonal pill could be developed.  Failing that, there are the obvious ways to get rid of the egg as well.

I'm not a dr but I read in the Mirena pamphlet that they only recommend IUDs for women who have had a vagina birth. I think it has something to do with the uterus post-birth. I can't remember[1] all the details but I think the body rejects it in most cases when it's not inserted after a pregnancy. It was in the warnings when I got mine.

If we really wanted to stop it dead in it's tracks we'd make some form of birth control mandatory until the age of adulthood. 

I really want to do this with both my girls. I want to get them on BC at the onset of puberty. But the fathers disagree with me. They think it will make the girls feel like we are giving them permission to have sex. My feelings are if they want to they are going to regardless of what I want for them. I'd rather them be prepared. I'm curious to see how this unfolds when my girls hit puberty. I hope we can all come to an agreement but it's likely I will end up pissing someone off and just doing what I think is best any ways. I guess this is one subject I'd rather piss of the other parent than fold on.
 1. A quick glance at the Mirena website didn't yield any results. Web MD only says it's "easier" to insert after a vaginal birth.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Quesi

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 01:19:28 PM »
Thank you for the interesting data, Pianodwarf.

Nogodsforme, I am not sure how my personal opinions on this topic will change when my daughter is your daughter’s age.  At 6, sexual activity seems so far away, I can discuss the issue theoretically.  How will I feel when she is 15?  I can’t say for sure. 

Kimberly and Madbunny, I have really mixed feelings as well. 

I’ve had a bunch of interesting discussions on this topic this week.  Mostly with NYC parents.  The most interesting comment, I think, came from my boss, whose daughter just started her freshman year at a great university.  She told me her daughter had just called to say that her menstrual cycle was irregular, and wanted to know if it was a good idea to go to Planned Parenthood and go on the pill.  Her mom, (my boss) said absolutely not.  She said to go to a general practitioner to see what the problem was with her menstrual cycle, and suggested that she improve her diet and sleep habits. 

She went on to say “use condoms.” 

For my boss, fear of unwanted pregnancy was not as serious as fear of std’s and AIDS. She was concerned that if her daughter went on the pill, she would make herself vulnerable to more serious threats.  And she went on to say that she had the same concern about this policy, which might encourage kids to protect themselves with condoms. 

We also marveled at the 18 year old asking permission to go to Planned Parenthood.  My boss and I both admitted that we had gone to Planned Parenthood without parental permission (or even knowledge).   

Offline Kimberly

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 02:13:41 PM »
For my boss, fear of unwanted pregnancy was not as serious as fear of std’s and AIDS. She was concerned that if her daughter went on the pill, she would make herself vulnerable to more serious threats. 

I can understand and sympathize with this fear. Teenagers feel inevitable. The pill or other BC might make them feel safe. "He told me he was a virgin so I can't get an STD. I only need my pill to prevent a pregnancy."[1]
 1. Not trying to single out guys here. Typically speaking the female is the one to take BC. So I'm imagining the convo from her perspective.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline MadBunny

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Re: NY High Schools giving out Plan B - morning after pill
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 10:06:32 PM »
As a society we're so completely stupid on this issue it isn't even funny.
What always gets me is that it's apparent that the problem isn't really contraception, or for that matter abortion; but parental control.

I don't really see any kind of rational solution in the near, or distant future.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.