Contraceptives in Schools


With the United States having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates among industrialized countries, the debate about offering contraceptives in schools continues.
Sexual health clinics are being offered in many schools in the United States, offering testing for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing and in few cases contraceptives. With many students having no other access to sexual and reproductive health services these clinics provide a much needed lifeline for students who are in desperate need of contraception and STD testing and treatment.
Advocates for Youth reports that:
• 80% of adolescent pregnancies are unintended, ¾ of which occur to young women who did not use any contraception.
• ¼ of all STD cases occur in adolescent between the ages of 15-19.
• ¼ of all new HIV infections occur in people under 21. reports that 3 out of 10 women will get pregnant at least once by the age of 20. That is more than 2000 teenage girls a day.

Teens obviously need access to condoms, contraceptives, accurate information and health services. Unfortunately many teens are limited in their ability and willingness to pursue these services due to time constraints, transportation problems, financial situations and fear of lack of confidentially.

While many schools offer clinics, not all of the clinics offer access to contraceptives despite research showing offering these services reduces pregnancies and does not increase sexual activity among teens. While most people are in favor of abstinence for adolescents, abstinence is also the method of birth control that has the highest failure rate because of the definition of abstinence being ambiguous and not being able to stick with it when they get in the heat of the moment. Then they are left unprotected against pregnancy and disease.

Providing contraceptives in schools is a reasonable alternative for students who want and need access to family planning services and have no other options. School based clinics can provide a safe space for students to get counseling about their sexual decision making and contraception when they need it. Providing contraceptives in schools with help make sure adolescents have the tools they need to prevent pregnancy.


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