Posted by Brian at 11:18 AM
Prepare the Fainting Couches!
The backlash over this decision is going to be loud and ugly, and I doubt that the policy, sound as it may be, will last very long.
PORTLAND, Maine - Pupils at a city middle school will be able to get birth control pills and patches at their student health center after the local school board approved the proposal Wednesday evening.
The plan, offered by city health officials, makes King Middle School the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available to students in grades 6 through 8, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
I will be the first to admit that I am disturbed by the idea that middle schoolers are having sex, but being disturbed by something doesn't mean that we, as a society, shouldn't take steps to try to stop bad decisions from becoming disastrous, and providing access to contraception is one way to do that.
Not everyone agrees, as you might expect.
Opponents cited religious and health objections.
Diane Miller said she felt the plan was against religion and against God. Another opponent, Peter Doyle, said he felt it violated the rights of parents and puts students at risk of cancer because of hormones in the pill.
Ms. Miller's objections should be noted and then ignored. Just because the plan may be against her religion and her understanding of God doesn't mean that it should be stopped--why is it that religious activists never seem to get the idea that pulling out the religion card could just as easily be used against them? I could say--as members of one of the largest religions in the world do--that eating cow is against religion and against God, but I'd be laughed out of town (if not sued, Oprah-style) if I tried to use that as an argument against the Cattlemen's Association.
As for the cancer question, a quick google search reveals a whole host of answers, and at this point I have no idea who's accurate. At one point, I'd have felt fine about going to the National Cancer Institute's website (what with the .gov suffix), but under the Bush administration, especially when it comes to womens' reproductive health, you can't really trust the government anymore.
I'm fairly sure that there will be lots of people online decrying this policy, and they'll probably be on teevee, screeching about moral decay and whatnot, and none of them will acknowledge that programs like this are meant to serve those kids who are in the worst situations, that kids who have parents who communicate with them and take an active interest in their growth as individuals will already be dealing with this, and that the program won't affect their kids in the slightest. It's meant to help those who are in abusive families, or who are otherwise being overlooked--and to shut this door on them means to harm the even further.