Free Plan B in NYC Schools: Why We Might Have to Give Students a Plan C

Is providing Plan B to students the correct choice, or should we provide a “Plan C?”

Abortions, abstinence-only vs. comprehensive sex education, condoms, teenage pregnancy, Plan B, the pill — all buzzwords in the recent debate when New York City public schools announced that for about a year, they had been offering Plan B to students.

With 7,000 girls under the age of 17 becoming pregnant in the last year (and 90% of these unplanned pregnancies), health officials sought to provide even more preventative measures to address unplanned teenage pregnancy. New York schools have provided free condoms to students in the past, but wanted to take more of a proactive stance. Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH) decided to provide 13 public schools with Plan B, a pill to reduce pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. CATCH also distributed birth control to teenagers. Students may receive these contraceptives without parental consent and are protected by confidentiality.

When CATCH was publicly addressed in media outlets, the program raised concerns from parents and health officials alike. The Daily Beast reports that officials involved in the program sent letters to parents and provided an opt-out option so students would not have to participate in the program. CATCH also provides counseling, a school nurse and social workers.

One can argue that parents should have the right to be involved in their children’s sexual education; others might assert that it’s the government’s responsibility to curb teenage pregnancy. One could also observe that increased availability to emergency contraception may lead to risky sexual behaviors, as one study performed by the Nottingham University Business School has shown. Even though teenage pregnancies have declined in New York City by 20% over the last ten years, it is still a problem.

The real, clear issue is that New York City health officials saw a problem and decided to address it.

While it may not be the best approach from a parent’s perspective, public schools acknowledge that students are going to continue to have sex whether or not their parents approve of it. It seems to be more important to provide students with options rather than ignore the issue. Most everybody knows that if you tell a teenager not to have sex with somebody, they are more likely to do it. At least New York is taking preventative measures, unlike some states that still teach abstinence only sex education, especially since such states tend to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy.

Parental concerns aside, only time will tell as to whether or not CATCH programs prevent teenage pregnancy.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Michelle Adams

Currently serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness with the Campaign to End Homelessness program, Michelle is passionate about ending homelessness. She graduated with a B.A. in Communication and a specialization in public relations and a minor in sexuality and conflict/management from Michigan State University. Her interests lie in writing about culture, sexuality/gender and homelessness. Offline she enjoys quoting How I Met Your Mother, volunteering, swinging at parks and stargazing.

MORE FROM

'Hot Mic' podcast: Tropical Storm Cindy, Housing for Grenfell fire survivors, Uber CEO steps down

The important stories to get you caught up for Thursday.

EPA committee told that "climate change will be de-emphasized" by Trump administration

A key advisory committee has been "totally decimated" ex-members say.

O.J. Simpson's parole hearing will be held in Nevada on July 20

The former NFL player is serving a minimum 9-year sentence for armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges related to a 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers

Your favorite coffee could be going extinct thanks to climate change

Your caramel mocha frappuccino is in peril.

'Wall Street Journal' reporter fired over ethical violations

The reporter was allegedly part of a potential business deal with a source.

Sex crime advocates say 2 underage girls forced into sex during robbery are victims, not criminals

Prosecutors are charging the teen girls as adults for their involvement in an alleged robbery.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Tropical Storm Cindy, Housing for Grenfell fire survivors, Uber CEO steps down

The important stories to get you caught up for Thursday.

EPA committee told that "climate change will be de-emphasized" by Trump administration

A key advisory committee has been "totally decimated" ex-members say.

O.J. Simpson's parole hearing will be held in Nevada on July 20

The former NFL player is serving a minimum 9-year sentence for armed robbery, kidnapping and other charges related to a 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers

Your favorite coffee could be going extinct thanks to climate change

Your caramel mocha frappuccino is in peril.

'Wall Street Journal' reporter fired over ethical violations

The reporter was allegedly part of a potential business deal with a source.

Sex crime advocates say 2 underage girls forced into sex during robbery are victims, not criminals

Prosecutors are charging the teen girls as adults for their involvement in an alleged robbery.