Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My opinion is of course, the only one that matters

Here's another editorial I wrote for work. Let me know what you think, dear Invisible Friends!


Want to think about something scarier than seeing your neighbor squeeze themselves into last year’s nurse Halloween costume? Think about public schools offering birth control to middle school students.

In Portland, Maine, a school committee voted to allow pre-teens to obtain birth control without their parent’s consent. The waiver only prevents the students from using the health center if their parents don’t approve. Picture it: hormonal, over-emotional, pre-pubescents strolling up to the nurse’s office and requesting birth control at the tender age of 13, with only a pesky little parent waiver to stop them from using the health center. Just the health center, mind you, not the birth control within the health center.

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified by the thought. Luckily for us, only Baltimore, MD, and Portland are allowing this right now. Since Texas is a conservative state, it may be awhile before folks around here start demanding public schools are allowed to hand out birth control.
Unfortunately, there is the chance that San Antonians could be making this decision sooner than we would like. With Governor’s Perry latest push for pre-teen girls to be required to be vaccinated with Gardasil, a anti-cancer vaccine to protect girls from strains human papillomavirus (HPV), the topic of sex-ed and prevention in middle schools has been a hot one locally as well as nationally.

Whether you believe children should engage in pre-marital sex or not is not the issue. The fact that the state has started playing moral leader to impressionable children developing their own sense of morality without parental consent is also not the main issue (though a very valid concern).

The problem is that state education officials are taking it upon themselves to manage student’s health issues without parent consent. The state education system is not a hospital. It is not a church; it is not a morality center. The state education system’s job, whether the state is New Mexico or New Hampshire, is to educate students to survive in the world and become productive members of society.

While it is admirable that the state is taking responsibility to educate students about their health, that’s all they should do. They should educate and inform. It’s not their job to start handing out birth control like candy at a holiday party. Birth control is not like the condoms some high schools offer. Condoms protect wearers from HIV and STDs. Birth control doesn’t. Condoms also don’t mess with your hormones. Birth control does. Young girls have only been developing for a few years and are still in the throes of puberty. Handing out a prescription that’s guaranteed to effect their developing hormones is beyond ridiculous. Only a doctor and the child’s guardian should make those decisions. A 13-year-old girl is in no position to pick out her clothes logically, much less make critical decisions about her sexual health. The state education system should not be involved in the illegal act of minors pursuing or engaging in sexual activities. Ever.

Ok, so kids are having sex early. Ok, some parents don’t talk to their kids about sex and think it’s the school’s job to raise their kids. I get that. However, there are plenty of other organizations happy to talk to kids about sex and hand out birth control without parental consent, like Planned Parenthood. That’s their job. It is the parent’s job to educate their children about sex, and the parent’s job to determine whether a young minor should take birth control or not. State education has no right to act as a child’s parent or doctor, no matter how poor parenting has become lately.

Until state education agencies suddenly morph into all-inclusive baby raising organizations where they feed, clothe, educate and raise a child (like a parent), they have no right to be making medical decisions for minors without their parents’ consent. The majority of 12-year-olds should not be trusted to direct their own health care, and it’s not any state’s place to determine whether they are capable of doing so. We have hospitals to dispense medication. We have schools to teach children. And we have parents to teach them how to make the right decisions in life.

4 comments:

Mom said...

Very well said.Good job.

Emma Sanders said...

I agree with what mom said...VERY well said!

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