October 22, 2007
If you’ve read the news, and if you’re not banging your head against the wall, you must be pulling out hairs…or at least scratching the scalp raw. What were they thinking of?
Wednesday night, October 17, grown adults on the Portland School Committee in Maine voted to extend approval of condoms for junior high students to a wider approval of the full range of birth control options. School-based health clinics will now be in the business of dispensing birth control to students ages 11 to 13…confidentially…without informing their parents.
This decision shows the muddled thinking of adults who, while loving children, have lost track of the best interests of children. Richard Verrier, who supported the vote for birth control, told the Associated Press, “it’s not enough to depend on parents to protect their children because there may be students who can’t discuss things with their parents.”
Well, Mr. Verrier, it’s too bad the Portland School Committee failed to act as “caring parents” to “protect their children.” Any loving parent will know that a child 11 to 13 is not old enough to engage in sexual activity of any kind. A loving parent protecting their child would take every possible step to teach, counsel, mentor and direct their child away from sexual activity.
Instead, Portland School Committee members acted as rebuffed taxpayers who do not want to spend dollars on rearing babies born to children. Even when the district provided condoms at their clinics they reported that 17 middle school students had become pregnant in the last four years, seven of them in the 2006-7 school year.
Responding to teen sex as a teen pregnancy issue, their emphasis on birth control tells students that having sex is not the problem. Having babies is what the adults who “care about them” object to.
One must wonder at the factual information the Committee relied on to make their decision. Firstly, teen sex is not just a problem when it creates babies.
Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Association points out the obvious. “Whenever an 11-year old is having sex, there is a problem much bigger than whether or not she will become pregnant because a child that young who has the opportunity to have sex – let alone feels she is mature enough to deal with the physical and emotional effects of intercourse – is, in most cases, seeking intimacy and approval because it is void on all other levels in her life.”
This search for love is what leads to teen pregnancy. Engaging in the lives of teens, demonstrating true affection and love for their welfare, is a costly investment. But it is what prevents teen pregnancy. Instead of providing what teens really need, the Committee opted to throw pills and condoms at them.
They will be disappointed. They will continue to witness teen births. Given typical use, the overall failure rate for condoms in preventing pregnancy is approximately 15%. For teens, this failure rate increases to 22%. When you promote condoms to teens, you are promoting a 22% failure rate.
Likewise, chemical birth control has its own failure rates. Dr. Patricia Sulak, a leading researcher of birth control, makes it a practice to ask her adult audiences to raise their hands if they or someone they know became pregnant while using the birth control pill. With regularity, the room is filled with hands waving in the air.
Evaluating contraception failure rates for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the Committee has now become a key causative factor in this epidemic. Condoms, despite regular media hype, fail to prevent serious STD infections, including incurable genital herpes. One in five people over the age of 12 now have genital herpes and carry the virus on body areas not covered by the condom. Talk about failure!
And if you want to ensure failure, just give a pack of birth control pills or a patch to an eleven-year-old. Reassured by adults she trusts that she is “protected” against pregnancy, what chance is there that she will also use condoms? Chemical contraception offers absolutely NO protection against STDs. Automatic failure!
Committee members will find themselves regretting their actions, even if it takes several years for them to see their error. Not so for the teens who accept the Committee “solutions” for teen pregnancy.
These teens will begin reaping the “rewards” of failure right away. They will experience the failures of the solutions promoted by adults who wanted a quick fix at the expense of teens who will be left to deal with the here and now failures of the quick fix.
Contraception will fail to safeguard our children. And by leading our children to contraception, the Committee has failed our children. A double dose of failure…and we will all pay the final price.