Ursula: Can a NYC liberal please explain?
In fact, in order to be a good friend, I feel I should do this. Some of the people I am closest to and love most dearly for their friendship are very firmly on liberal ground. Most live in New York City where I lived for most of my life.
So, when I saw this news – “NYC schools give out morning-after pills to students – without telling parents” – which also alarmed our esteemed editor Marybeth Hicks, I was dying to ask my liberal friends: Please, please explain how this makes sense.
To those with children in NYC public schools, I’d ask, “So, you are totally fine with your 13- or 14-year-old daughter telling her sexual history and deepest fears to a school counselor or nurse, who will then make a medical decision for her? One that you will never hear about?”
The article states that in addition to morning-after pills – Plan B – oral and injectable contraceptives will also be administered, as well as pregnancy tests.
“Wouldn’t you want to know about this? How can this POSSIBLY make sense to you guys?” That’s what I would ask. I mean, I wouldn’t ask it all snotty. I’d try really hard to be open to a view I haven’t considered.
They might say, well, it says right there that you can opt out if you want to:
Parents at the 14 schools were sent letters informing them about CATCH. Parents may bar their kids from getting pregnancy tests or contraceptives if they sign and return an opt-out statement.
If they do not, schools can confidentially give the contraception without permission.
An average 1 to 2 percent of parents at each school have returned the opt-out sheets, said DOH spokeswoman Alexandra Waldhorn.…
I wonder how those letters got sent home. Do the kids bring them in their backpacks? I used to be a teacher. Students stuff papers in their desk never to be seen again until June’s clean-out day. They turn them into paper airplanes or love notes. They lose the folder with the notice in it. The parents lose the notice. Even if the letter is mailed, sometimes parents live at different addresses and only one gets the note. Sometimes it arrives the week grandma is manning the fort. Was there any follow-up? I wonder.
All of this happens in even in the most posh of zip codes (I know from experience). But, regardless of the method by which the opt-out letter is sent, there are plenty of moms and dads, especially in very poor neighborhoods filled with immigrants and poorly educated single parents, who can’t read English or can’t read at all. As a literacy tutor, I know this is true.
Therefore, this process is patently discriminatory.
There are parents out there who might feel very strongly about opposing this, who have no means to 1) know about it or 2) opt out/complain.
All this is not to say that I don’t completely understand how painful and humiliating it can be to admit mistakes or share very personal information with one’s parents. I get it. We all get it. However, giving contraceptives and abortifacients to young girls without parental approval is a shameful answer to the question of teen pregnancy. Right?