Contraceptives in High Schools




Condoms in High Schools
"Approximately four million teens get a sexually transmitted disease every year" (Scripps 1). Today’s numbers of sexually active teens differ greatly from that of just a few years ago. Which in return, projects that not only the risk of being infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) has risen, but the actual numbers of those infected rise each year as well. These changes have not gone unnoticed. In fact have produced adaptations as to how society educates its young adults about sex, using special programs, various advertising, and regulating sexual education courses in public schools. One major adaptation is the advancement and availability of contraceptives. The next best step would be to combine some of these efforts by not only educating teenagers about sex and contraception, but providing them with contraceptives in public high schools.
Contraception has come a long way over the years. Up until thirty years ago, US government policies kept contraceptives out of reach of the poor, the unmarried, and the young (Mauldon 2). Even information about contraception was hard to find, complements of the Comstock Act of 1873, in which they were defined as "obscene." As late as 1964 contraception was illegal in some states (2). Where condoms were legal and available, they were still kept behind the counter of pharmacies, and only sold to a select group of male customers.
By the mid-70s, condoms became widely available through public health services, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood centers (Mauldon 3). Quick access to condoms is now a part of American life. Although, perhaps the access alone may not be enough for teens, but rather where the access is. High school, the main wave of social, educational, and sexual involvement for young adults, is the prime place for contraceptives to be distributed. Many students learn about sex and contraception through high school programs, so who better to give them out than the main educators of how to use them.
Some high schools in large cities do distribute condoms to their students, just as many colleges all over the United States. Yet this should not be limited solely to college students and inner city high school students.

It is most likely that there are sexually active teens in every high school, bringing risks to all of them. Dr. Joe. McIlhaney, founder and president of
the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, TX says "adolescents and young adults are at the highest risk for contracting STDs" (McIlhaney 24). This mostly stems from the promiscuity of teens today. An article based from an NBC News report contained results from a survey conducted last spring of ’99. This survey was based on interviews with 400 teens between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. It found that a good portion of teenagers sexually active in America have had three or more sexual partners (Scripps 2). Moreover "nearly 20 percent of students have had at least four sexual partners by the time they reach the 12th grade" (McIlhaney 24). With that in mind, high school should be the first source for condoms, pharmacies and hospitals should come second, because promiscuous teens seem to be roaming high school hallways more often.
Public high schools distributing contraceptives might be thought of as too liberal for our time, revealing those who would oppose as conservative. And many conservatives do in fact say that already the increased access to condoms and sex education has "stimulated more sexual activity among teenagers" (Mauldon 1). Even ArchBishop (now Cardinal) Bernardin believes that offering contraceptives to teenagers increases the chances that
they will be sexually active without using contraception (1-2). Neither of these opinions are true. As a matter of fact, The American Prospect
magazine states that "no one has yet been able to show that liberalized contraceptive policies increase teenage sexual activity in general or unprotected sex in particular" (Mauldon 4). However, these are not just the concerns of conservatives or religious leaders, but in addition the concerns of parents of these teens.
Parent appreciate having sex ed. in schools, yet are not as sure about having condoms distributed to teens at school ("What Can"). Many parents feel that their children are too young to have sex and are afraid that telling them about contraceptives will encourage them to