Roosevelt High School in East L.A. is located in what experts actually call a “pregnancy hotspot,” because teen pregnancy occurs is two to three times more likely than elsewhere. With that in mind, you’d think that people would be stoked to have a Planned Parenthood sponsored clinic in Roosevelt High. Though a lot of you aren’t having sex, plenty of you are, so it’s important to have access to contraception, be it condoms, birth control, or, ideally, both. The clinic provides not only access to contraception, but also information–and considering a survey was released recently implying that teens weren’t too informed about safe sex, that may be the most important part of their work.
However, opponents to the program are pissed that the clinic is “normalizing” teen sex instead of promoting abstinence. But here’s a news flash: If enough teens are getting pregnant to make your high school a “pregnancy hotspot,” teen sex probably is pretty normal. That makes it more important than ever to go over the risks of unsafe sex, because people need to know how to protect themselves. While reps for the program say that they do go over abstinence, they recognize and understand that while abstinence is the only 100 percent safe sex, it’s also clearly not very likely. However, if students know about the risks involved with sex–pregnancy, STDs, emotional complications–they may actually be more likely to abstain on their own. And if they’re not, at least they know how to protect themselves.
Perhaps the opponents of the program will stop complaining once they see that it’s working. The year before Planned Parenthood’s clinic came to Roosevelt High, there were 32 pregnancies on campus. The next year? There were three.
While those numbers are admittedly gradually going up, they’re still far below what they were before the program began. Whether the drop can be attributed to teens having more safe sex or less sex in general, we think Roosevelt High is on the right track. The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is the lowest it’s ever been since 1940, and that doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by making informed and intelligent decisions, whether you choose to have sex or not.
Do you think having Planned Parenthood in schools is a good idea? Do you think having Planned Parenthood in schools encourages teens to have sex? Do you think abstinence-only education is a better bet? Tell us in the comments!