School Approves Birth Control Pills for 11- to 13-Year-Olds

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - King Middle School in Portland, Maine, plans to dispense birth control pills and patches to students between the ages of 11 and 13. The Portland School Committee voted 5-2 in favor of the controversial proposal Wednesday night.

This is the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available to students in grades 6 through 8, the Associated Press reported. Condoms have been dispensed to students since 2002, the AP said.

Parents may never know if their children are getting birth control from the school health clinic. Although parents must give permission for their children to receive health services from the school, it's up to the children to tell their parents exactly what services they have requested.

According to press reports, students must have a physical exam by a physician or nurse practitioner before getting a birth control prescription.
The notion that a middle school would even consider giving birth control to children as young as 11 - thus implicitly sanctioning sexual activity -- has dismayed many Americans.

"Children who are sexually involved have much deeper problems that are left unaddressed by the band-aid approach of birth control," said the Family Research Council. "This practice also paves the way for a cover-up of sexual abuse, with children increasingly at risk."

The Associated Press reported that five of the 134 students who visited King Middle School's state-taxpayer-funded health center during the 2006-07 school year admitted they were having sexual intercourse.

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