Students at RooseveltHigh Schoolin Los Angelescan now swing by Planned Parenthood on the way to study hall to pick up their “free” birth control. While they may need a permission slip to get out of class, nothing of the sort is required to access the pill, the patch, the ring, or the shot per California law. As the Los Angeles Times reports, a chapter of Planned Parenthood—the largest provider of abortion services in the nation (and as we found out a couple weeks ago, sex-selective abortions are included)—has made a home on the school’s campus.
As the Times notes, “although nonprofit groups frequently offer reproductive healthcare on school campuses around the nation, the partnership involving Planned Parenthood…is the only one of its kind.”
This one-of-a-kind partnership is also operating to recruit “student advocates” who will reach out to their peers and “try to get them on birth control,” as one Roosevelt teen explains.
As Senator Jim DeMint (R–SC) remarked about the partnership, “it’s dangerous because it tells children that promiscuous, dangerous sex is supported by their government and their political authorities.”
And teen sexual activity is indeed associated with significant perils.
For example, sexually active teen girls are more likely to experience depression and perform poorly in school. They also have a five times higher rate of becoming victims of dating violence, compared to their abstinent peers.
What’s more, teens who begin having sex between the ages of 15 and 19 on average report having more than seven sex partners throughout their lifetimes, compared to an average of only three partners for women who wait until age 21. More sexual partners increase teens’ chances of contracting an STD. Research also indicates that more sexual partners before marriage is linked to greater marital instability down the road.
And while the argument for the Planned Parenthood center is to reduce teen pregnancy, the reality is the vast majority of unwed births—in Los Angeles County and in the United States overall—are not to young women during their high school years. According to 2009 Census data, in Los Angeles, only about 7 percent of all births to single mothers are to young women under 18. On the other hand, 67 percent are to women between 18 and 29. These percentages are nearly identical to national statistics.
Teens need to be taught that abstinence is the best option for them. And they also need to understand that waiting until after marriage to have a child is crucial to avoiding poverty and achieving a stable future. We must ensure that youth hear these important messages, thereby giving them a greater opportunity of achieving the American dream.