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Contraceptives Prohibited in Many Health Centers for Low Income Patients

According to a recent Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, 77 percent of middle and high school-based health centers cannot legally distribute contraceptives to patients. School-based health centers, which typically serve lower income students and community members, offer a wide range of services, including preventative education on tobacco, drug and alcohol use, STD transmission, and pregnancy. 70 percent provide STD testing; 60 percent offer HIV testing. Yet with the availability of education and testing, school districts have prohibited the distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives, arguing that providing contraceptives increases sexual activity among teenagers. Studies have proven this argument to be false. In the face of this criticism, school based health centers have ceased the distribution of contraceptives and offer birth control counseling and off-site birth control referrals instead.

Sources:

Kaiser Family Foundation _ November 29, 2000; Alan Guttmacher Institute

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