It comes as no surprise that people are in uproar over Denver's recent announcement that it will make birth control available to Bruce Randolph Public School. According to ABC news, a group of parents have been pushing for a birth control program in an effort to make condoms, oral contraception and emergency contraception free and accessible at the school. Though the program requires parental permission to participate, many groups are furious over the decision, claiming that the school system has no right to make these kinds of decisions, and that parents are not necessarily comfortable talking to their children about contraception.
The school has adopted the program in an effort to reduce teenage pregnancy and births - last year 12 Bruce Randolph Public School students gave birth. Easy access to contraception and emergency contraception may help lower the number of unintended pregnancies.
Will the program lower teen pregnancies? Will it make teens more likely to use birth control and emergency contraception and engage in protected sex? I'm not sure. But what the program will do may be bigger than the answer to those questions - it's a step in making sexual health and resources readily available to teenagers, who are, whether we want to believe it or not, engaging in sex. It's opening up a space for teens to talk about sex and ask about sex and get accurate information about sex. It's a step towards reproductive justice - providing teens the right to have a child when they are ready in their lives. Besides, it isn't as if they're putting condoms in vending machines - this is a school for 6th - 12th graders. Students will need to go into the office and ask about these resources. There's a certain amount of initiative required for teens to gain access to sexual health resources - contrary to the belief some may have that contraception is being shoved down their child's throat.
This is a win, but I'm sure some of my readers will disagree.