The New York City Department of Education is offering Plan B and other hormone-based drugs to children as young as 14 without parents’ permission at a dozen New York City high schools.
The city’s pilot program, Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH), allows schools nurses to dispense Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sex. The drug also may cause early abortion. The schools are also administering injectable pregnancy-prevention hormones, which research has shown to have serious side effects.
It’s unclear whether the schools are breaking federal regulations: Last December, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Plan B may not be dispensed over the counter to girls under 17 without a prescription. However, Title X allows schools to dispense birth-control drugs to minors without parental consent.
Though the schools sent a letter to parents explaining that they may opt their children out of the CATCH program, Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said it’s unlikely most parents have seen it.
“The first time they are reading about (the program) is in the newspaper,” she told CitizenLink.
And this is no small concern: “These medicines have considerable risks (for teens),” Huber said, “and these are decisions that should be made by doctors.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “Teen Pregnancy Quick Facts.”
Read “Teen Sexual Behavior Quick Facts.”