Challenging Other Parents' Right to OK Birth Control in Schooltoddler-times
At first glance, the fight in Revere, Mass. sounds like a typical battle over kids’ access to birth control. Except the parents who are trying to get contraception out of their kids’ schools aren’t fighting an in loco parentis decision by the school district.
Every parent in Revere has the right to say “yay” or “nay” to their kid being dosed birth control by the school. And one group of parents is fighting to take away other parents’ rights to OK their kids’ access to contraception.
The Boston Globe reported over the weekend on a push to get the fight against contraception in the Revere schools onto the ballot. The parents who are seeking signatures for a referendum believe no birth control should be given out in a school district.
But here’s the rub: the school district’s current rules don’t simply allow access to birth control. According to the Globe: “Revere High School students who have parental approval can receive free condoms and prescriptions for birth control pills. Other contraception methods available to students in clude a Depo Provera shot, which protects against pregnancy for up to 14 weeks, and the Plan B, or morning-after, pill.”
Revere is home to one of fifty school-based health care centers in the state, a place where kids can access primary care at the school . . . but again, the school notes it is all done with the permission of the parents.
The program itself began in part as a response to the highly publicized and highly controversial Gloucester teen pregnancy pact, and news that certain parts of the state (including the area around Revere) saw a significant jump in the number of pregnant teens.
Not surprisingly, the people fighting the program aren’t fighting it on grounds that their kids might have access to contraception (they wouldn’t sign the permission slips). They’re fighting it on grounds that NO child should have access.
The Globe reports one Catholic priest has advocated more than two thousand of his parishioners sign the petition and vote no for contraceptives in schools. But he talks out of both sides of his mouth, telling the Globe on one hand that condoms don’t always work . . . and besides, they ruin the pleasure of sex (the irony of a man mandated by his faith NOT to have sex talking about the loss of pleasure is high . . . especially when you throw in the very Catholic belief that sex is not for pleasure but for procreation).
Need I mention the separation of church and state here?
But the bigger issue: if you retain the right over what your kids are doing (whether parents have rights over their children’s sexual behavior is another issue) what does it matter what OTHER parents decide about their kids and sex?
More in school/appropriate for kids debates: