contraceptives for 11-year-olds? it’s true

Sometimes I find it hard to be proud to be an American. Alright, well, perhaps that’s too strong a statement. But it sure is my initial reaction when I hear about these unbelievable stories of policies here in the United States.

On Wednesday, October 17, the Portland (Maine) School Committee approved a plan to distribute contraceptives to middle school students as young as eleven years old! This is one of those stories where you have to check around with various trusted sources to see if it’s really true.

Now, I certainly don’t disagree that they’ve got a serious problem that needs fixing. Portland’s three middle schools reported a total of 17 pregnancies in the past 4 years, not to mention those that weren’t reported (i.e. miscarriages, abortions).

Portland requires parental permission for a student to visit their health center. Under the new plan, once at the health center, the school’s treatment of the child will not be disclosed to the parents. Where are the rights of the parents here?

I found it hard to summarize my specific thoughts on this issue, until I read Bishop Richard Malone’s statement. He said, in part, “The school committee’s decision…communicates to young people that adults have given up on forming young people in virtues like chastity. It promotes a purely pragmatic response to the moral problem of sexual activity in young people…we need to help them understand the importance of postponing sexual activity until marriage for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.”

In today’s world, it’s tough enough to teach kids to postpone sexual activity until marriage. But can’t we at least agree that we should teach them to wait until they are adults? Even some adults aren’t mature enough to make such a decision; how can we expect 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds to make such a major decision?

Even if you ignore the moral and perhaps religious aspect of the issue, let’s just look a this from a legal perspective. If an adult has sex with a minor, it’s called statutory rape. It’s illegal. The adult cannot claim that the sex was consentual because a minor is not able to make such a decision. So, if a minor cannot decide to have sex, doesn’t stand to reason that a minor cannot decide to use contraception?

This whole plan is wrong. What is their long term goal here? Ten years from now, when it’s just commonly accepted for 11-year-olds in Portland to have sex (protected of course), then they’ll need to start giving contraception to 9-year-olds.

The situation could be worse. It could be happening in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Google search.