Tuesday, October 16, 2007

6 Graders To Be Given Access To Birth Control...

...without parental knowledge in Maine if the measure gets passed via the Portland School Committee. On the one hand, parents have to give permission for the students to be seen by the King Student Health Centers but on the other hand, the things that go on there are considered confidential and parents are not granted access to the files. So, if a child has permission to be seen in case of need, that child also has the ability to go and receive birth control prescriptions without having parental consent or the parent even being notified.

Here is a quote from Lead Nurse, Amanda Rowe:
"This is a service that is totally needed," Rowe said. "It's about very few kids, but they are kids who don't have the same opportunities and access as other students."

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should parents have access to this information?
-What are your thoughts about making birth control available to 6th graders?
-Do you think it allows for more promiscuity without as high of a risk for pregnancy or is it effective in curbing teen pregnancy or both?
-Do you think this is an issue of the greater good?
-If you are a parent of a middle school aged child, what would your reaction be if this proposal was brought up in your school district?


Susan Hunt said...

I don't understand how they could keep that information "confidential" from parents--especially if they gave consent for their children to receive the treatment. They are still minors and parents have rights--I think this completely disempowers parents by making the assumption that a sixth-grade child has the knowledge and common sense to be able to make crucial decisions about their sexual health. It isn't rational to me.

j razz said...

I don't understand it either, but I also don't understand a parent asking the child what went on at the clinic and the child telling their parent, "I don't have to tell you it is confidential" and the parent accepting that as an answer. I would suspect that parents usually have a tendency to know when their child is lying to them, but again, this is not the issue, the issue is whether or not the information should be kept from the parent by the clinic. I wonder if the parent could give them permission to go but only if the information is subsequently released to the parent. You are familiar with "release of information forms" I wonder if a parent could have their minor to sign it, and then the "parent" or "legal guardian" sign it and then submit it to the clinic to obtain the records on their child?

That would be ironic as even with the releases you have to have their caretaker sign. Strange how our system works.

j razz