How Schools Should Handle Contraception


A couple dozen high schools in the city of Philadelphia are finally getting around to doing what every single secondary school in the country ought to have done decades ago, providing free and anonymous access to condoms. It’s all part of a pilot project to address high rates of HIV infection:

The Philadelphia Health Department will install clear plastic dispensers brimming with free condoms at 22 of Philadelphia’s public high schools over winter break.

The schools chosen for the pilot program have the highest rates of students infected with sexually transmitted diseases in the city, Philly.com reports. All students — even those as young as 14 — will be eligible to score free condoms unless their parents sign a form prohibiting them from participating.

The primary issue city officials hope to address with the pilot program is not teen pregnancy, but the growing prevalence of sexually transmitted disease among adolescents.

That’s a good start. Combine that with comprehensive sex education and free and anonymous pregnancy and STD testing and we’ll actually be on the way toward a rational, science-based policy. That is how they do it in the Netherlands, where the rate of teen pregnancy, abortion and STDs is about 1/7th that of the United States.

Comments

  1. says

    “That is how they do it in the Netherlands, where the rate of teen pregnancy, abortion and STDs is about 1/7th that of the United States.”

    Yes, but American Exceptionalism.

  2. otrame says

    @3

    I used to call Rick Perry a weasel, but over time I began to realize that that was an unconscionable insult to weasels. He has done enormous damage to Texas. Since I live here and quite like the place (yes, yes, I know but the truth is that 41 percent of Texans voted for Obama–we aren’t ALL cretins) this pisses me off. If the Democratic Party in Texas ever finds it’s backbone*, maybe we can do something about him.

    Yeah, I am an eternal optimist. Why do you ask?

    *Are you proud of me? I originally wrote “balls” but realized that implied that courage is a male attribute. See, I may be old, but I can learn.

  3. acroyear says

    Actually, this isn’t going to work. Without some means of limiting how many are distributed at a time, the result is that one kid is going to be obnoxious and just take them all, just like they do with everything else freely distributed (reasons there’s never any paper towels or toilet paper in the restrooms). free distribution of pretty much anything without limits just can’t scale past the point where an irresponsible jackass ruins it.

  4. Gnumann+,who should not under any cirumstance be referred to as "gunman" says

    That’s a good start. Combine that with comprehensive sex education and free and anonymous pregnancy and STD testing and we’ll actually be on the way toward a rational, science-based policy.

    Don’t forget easy access to emergency contraception and free and easy access to abortion.

    I used to call Rick Perry a weasel, but over time I began to realize that that was an unconscionable insult to weasels.

    The mustelid anti-defamation league extends it’s thanks.

  5. says

    Actually, this isn’t going to work.

    Ah, there’s that optimism! /snark

    Why not give it a whirl before writing off a potentially lifesaving idea? Will dumb kids make water balloons out of them? Possibly. Would making them available by request from the school nurse dissuade young people from asking? Quite likely. But we won’t know until it’s tried, right?

    Let’s at least see how it goes before admitting defeat.

  6. John Hinkle says

    Well this should cause an xian wingnut freakout. “ZOMG! Why don’t you just rent out entire motels for the little fornicators too?!?”

  7. laurentweppe says

    Well this should cause an xian wingnut freakout. “ZOMG! Why don’t you just rent out entire motels for the little fornicators too?!?”

    Then answer
    Because all the rooms are taken by you and your holier than thou friends whoring away their families’ money.

  8. says

    I’m wondering how the parents of the kids who want to opt out of this, will prevent their kids from getting access to free contraception anyway.

    Not that I want to help them, or anything…

  9. says

    That’s great, but shouldn’t they also provide some kind of contraception for the girls, too? Contraception is even more important for women than men (men don’t have to worry about getting pregnant), and not all the girls will be able to convince their boyfriends to wear condoms. It doesn’t seem like providing free diaphrams for the girls would be any more difficult than free condoms, and that way the girls would have another option if they are unable to convince their boyfriends to wear a condom.

  10. says

    Yeah, there just is no female equivalent in terms of expense and uniformity. Or ease or effectiveness– diaphragms don’t protect against STDs, and a condom is so very basic. Give out condoms for free, and instruct girls to tell a boy who won’t wear one that he can go fuck himself, rather than her.

  11. slc1 says

    Mr. Brayton just doesn’t get it. STDs, HIV, and pregnancy are punishments from god for loose morals. End snark.

  12. comfychair says

    Oh, this is a very bad idea indeed. If you don’t teach kids how to have sex, they will never figure it out on their own and therefore = no more teen pregnancy/STDs/general sinfulness and/or decline of civilization into Godless Anarchy. See how easy th… what’s that? They WILL figure it out on their own? But…

  13. mommiest says

    Can we track STD and pregnancy rates among those kids whose parents “opt out” and compare them with the general population? If you could control for those kids who will get their friends to get condoms for them, I can guess how that would work out.

  14. says

    Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven “Diaphragms have to be fitted. It’s a little more involved.”
    Like the optometrist? (“Better, or worse?…Better, or worse?”…)

  15. Francisco Bacopa says

    Well this should cause an xian wingnut freakout. “ZOMG! Why don’t you just rent out entire motels for the little fornicators too?!?”

    Sounds like a great idea. Inexperienced people need time to learn things about their own and others’ bodies. The furtive nature of early sexual experiences can lead to bad habits and even sexual dysfunction. Give them six undisturbed hours.

  16. janeymack says

    I was also wondering how the “opt-out” option would work. If the dispensers are placed somewhere that they can be monitored so the “opt-out” kids can’t get them, I would think that other kids (who might help themselves if they could do it privately) will also be less likely to take them–thus kind of defeating the purpose. If they are put somewhere private, like a restroom, then there is no way to guarantee that the “opt-outs” can’t just help themselves like anybody else (thus defeating the “opt-out” option).

    Of course, as somebody else mentioned, the “opt-out” kids can just have their friends score some condoms for them anyway. I’m all for parental choice and involvement, but i just don’t see how an “opt-out” option is going to be practical in this case.

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