Rise in Number of Health Clinics That Lack Birth Control

The nation is gaining more and more health clinics, many of which do not dispense birth control.

The number of clinics has almost doubled in the last four years according to Making the Grade, a national program that provides guidance to clinics. Based off results from the group’s survey, new clinics are appearing at a rapid pace in both rural and urban areas, with urban areas still housing the majority of the nations clinics, 63 percent. The midwest, has seen a 58.7 percent growth in new clinics.

However, the increased availability of health care centers has come at the expense of reproductive rights. Julia Graham Lear, director of Making the Grade, reported that many school districts were wary of clinics in the 1980s because of political opposition to birth control.

“In the ’90s, there’s a much greater. . .understanding of sexual activity and a desire to have resources in the schools that are honest and educational,” said Lear. “In some states and some communities, school boards have said, ‘You can do this, but we want you not to deal with contraception,'”

Currently, three out of four school-based health centers do not provide contraceptives to students. “Without these services, (clinics) are not meeting the full range of needs of children and youth,” read the group’s conclusion, which advocated an increase in the availability of contraceptives.


Washington Post - October 26, 1998

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