Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Birth Control in Middle School?

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The Portland (Maine) school board and Division of Public Health are allowing King Middle School students to get sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, as well as birth control without notifying parents. The goal, of this controversial act, is to provide students who are participating in risky behavior access to needed health services.

Research has shown repeatedly that having the services will not encourage the students who do not participate in risky behavior to go out and look for trouble - the services will only help those who need them. It is not right, and it is sad, but there are middle school students participating in sexual behavior. Which would we as a society prefer - a 14-year old pregnant girl, or one on birth control?

It amazes me that the same society that sexualizes young girls, sells every product known to humankind with sexuality, and encourages young girls to fixate on their appearance and sex appeal, finds providing the healthcare required by the consequences of those activities inappropriate and a violation of parental rights.

I'll tell you what is a violation of my rights as a parent - that I cannot protect my children from exposure to sexuality, drugs, alcohol, and smoking without limiting their freedom. All I can do as a parent is talk to them, and mitigate the perception that "everyone" is doing it, and that participation in those risky activities is the way to become popular, successful, and strong.

Photo Credit: blmurch

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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