A pilot program initiated in private school health clinics in New York City was expanded into 13 public schools. The program called CATCH, Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health, seeks to reduce teen pregnancy by providing contraceptive care. Through CATCH students can receive condoms, pregnancy tests, birth control pills, Depo-Provera (an injection that prevents pregnancy for three months, and the morning after pill Plan B. According to the New York Times, the program has been in effect in public schools since January 2011 but did not receive much attention until now.
To get Plan B, a student needs to do is go to the school nurse or clinic and say that they have had unprotected sex. The student will then take a pregnancy test and if it is negative, the nurse can dispense the medication.
Parents or Guardians can sign an “opt-out” form removing their child from the program. Opponents of CATCH claim the program will lead to more sexually active young teens.
One pair of 14 year olds told the New York Post “I don’t want to be a young kid who gets pregnant and can’t find a job” and “I would go to the nurse without telling my parents, and I would ask for help.”
Media Resources: Washington Times 9/25/12; New York Post 9/23/12; New York Times 9/23/12