In New York City, local schools are promoting the wrong kind of “extra curricular” activities. To combat the big uptick in teen pregnancy, city health officials are taking matters into their own hands–and out of parents’. Under a new program called CATCH, Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare, 13 high schools will double as confidential medical clinics where students can get regular birth control injections, the morning-after pill, and condoms without ever calling home. That’s right. The same nurse’s office that demands a parents’ note for aspirin will be in the position to administer high (and potentially dangerous) doses of hormones to children as young as 14 without so much as a permission slip. “I would go to the nurse without telling my parents,” a local girl admitted.
Liability issues aside, this is a sickening violation of parents’ authority, which happens to pose serious risks to teens’ health. As FRC’s Jeanne Monahan pointed out during the abortion industry’s push to make Plan B available to kids over the counter, some of our concerns have to do with the lack of testing on young girls whose bodies are still in a developmental stage. And contrary to what New York officials believe, Plan B has actually been linked to an increase in teen pregnancies. Another 2010 study found that it’s partially responsible for a spike in adolescent STDs. Then, of course, there’s the reality that these pills can, in some instances, abort a human life. No high schooler has the maturity level to weigh these issues alone and make a sound decision.
Hold on, the Left will say, students won’t be making these choices themselves–they’ll have the help of school and health officials. Yes, the same people who want to squeeze moms and dads out of the process by automatically opting children in to CATCH. The same agencies that say they will bypass the age restrictions on the morning-after pill by having their own doctors prescribe them. And the same local government that continues to preside over the highest abortion rate (41%) in the country. Unfortunately, I think we all understand the kind of advice children can expect from New York officials (it starts with promiscuity and ends with Planned Parenthood.)
Of course, one of the greatest ironies of this whole debate is that it’s taking place in New York City–the cradle of Nanny State politics. Now, the same Mayor who took away the city’s Big Gulps wants to take an even bigger risk with kids’ health. It’s like the First Lady, who is dictating what’s on every student’s lunch plate because she thinks she knows better than parents. From a liberal standpoint, it makes perfect sense. If moms and dads can’t be trusted to ensure that their kids are eating well, then they certainly can’t be trusted with decisions about sex and abortion. So the government takes away chocolate milk because it’s too fattening–only to turn around and give kids the morning-after pill, which can really kill.
In the meantime, substituting government for family will only exacerbate the problems of teen sex and pregnancy. It’s a trend that will only change when leaders recognize that involving parents in the decision-making process is the best birth control of all.
Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.
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