Sunday, October 21, 2007

Birth Control for Middle Schoolers

Why do 12 and 13 year old girls get pregnant? Why do girls of that age even have sex? The question isn't, "Is there something missing from their lives?" The question has to be, "How can we replace what is missing without involving a 13 or 14 year old boy?"

I'm not sure the Portland, Maine school board did the right thing in voting to allow the giving of birth control pills to middle school students. But I'm also far from thinking they did the wrong thing. School officials saw a problem and tried to come up with a solution. Seventeen middle school pregnancies in the last four years. Just think how the lives of those 17 young ladies will be affected and the lives of their families including the babies which they will bring into the world. And folks, the ol' Chief speaks from experience. Once upon a time, I had a 14 year old daughter who was pregnant. (My granddaughter is 28, BTW.)

We have predictible responses, from a Republican, running for office

"These are family-value decisions," said Nick McGee, Republican City Committee chairman. "Promoting secrecy between parents and children cannot be a function of government."

"Promoting secrecy" is un-necessary in a functioning family unit. I know more than one mother who put her teen-aged daughter on birth control pills (Mrs. Chief excluded.)

And from one of the school board members
Minnick said she doesn't regret her vote and isn't fazed by the recall effort. "I voted in the best interests of children and their health and their futures," she said.

I went to WMTW web page and took their survey. Essentially, 70% of the respondents in this un-scientific survey disagree with the school board's decision. It would have been interesting to have had a follow up question on how they would have solved the problem.

Interestingly (complete article here)
Mark Reilly, a Republican who is an at-large candidate in Portland's nonpartisan City Council race, challenged the council Friday to block the School Committee's action because King's health center is funded and operated by the city's Public Health Division.

"It would be a breach of responsibility if the current City Council chooses not to get involved in this discussion," he said.

Reilly said he believes that 11-, 12- and 13-year-old children are not emotionally ready to engage in sexual activity.

"I believe that children of this age should be taught that abstinence is key," Reilly said. "If these children decide to do the wrong thing, then our schools should not condone their actions. Issuing birth control pills does exactly that."


City officials, however appear to be somewhat more forward looking:
Most councilors who could be reached for comment Friday defended the committee's action and said they have no interest in intervening in the operation of King's health center.

Mayor Nicholas Mavodones Jr., who heads the City Council, said he has no interest in intervening in the School Committee's action.

I totally agree with the not emotionally ready statement. But teaching abstinence does not work either. Mrs. First Lady Airhead Nancy Reagan preached, "Just say no!" It didn't work 20 years ago and it didn't work 120 years ago (family tree research). It doesn't work in the U.S.A. and it doesn't work in Iran & Iraq (look at the reason for stoning women).

Unfortunately, we can expect to see a lot of hysteria and hot air on the subject, but no calm discussions to try and reduce the incidence of pregnancy in middle school.

1 comment:

Robes said...

i just read a very eye opening commentary. though the author is a self proclaimed conservative he really didn't attack this on a right or left argument.

here is the link if you would like to read it
http://joeleonardi.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/birth-control-for-children/