October 11, 2012 — "Among the 7,000 girls ages 15 to 17 who got pregnant last year in New York City, nine out of 10 pregnancies were unplanned, and almost two out of three resulted in abortions," writes Laura Sessions Stepp, an author and journalist, in a CNN opinion piece. "For that reason alone, we should embrace New York's efforts to make all forms of contraception accessible" to high school students, she adds.
Stepp notes that although parents recently raised questions about a city-backed program that offers contraception, including emergency contraception, to high school students, similar programs have existed in the city for years. According to Stepp, "What hangs some people up is the school administration's decision, during the recent pilot phase of the project, to allow parents to opt their children out of it." They argued that an opt-in approach would have been preferable.
Stepp commends supporters of the plan for pointing out that under an opt-in approach, sexually active students "would be in the same boat as before: unable to easily acquire contraception after either consensual or nonconsensual sex."
Although no reliable evidence shows that the availability of birth control encourages teens to have sex, there is "good evidence that the increased availability of birth control, as well as improved sex education, has lowered the teen pregnancy rate dramatically," Stepp adds (Stepp, CNN, 10/9).