Lifestyle & Belief

New York public schools give students access to emergency contraception, birth control pills


The U.S. Affordable Health Care Act passed a reform requiring all emergency contraception and birth control pills to be free of co-payments or other deductibles as of August 1, 2011. The Obama administration confirmed that ruling today.


Kevork Djansezian

New York City public schools have been giving out free condoms for a while now—and in some select schools, that complimentary contraception is being extended to the "morning after" pill and hormonal birth control for girls, reports ABC's WABC-TV New York. 

Students will have access to the free health services unless their parents opt out of the program, reports Fox News, and services will be extended to girls as young as 14 if they need them. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Teens should use IUDs, hormonal implants as birth control, doctors group says

New York's CATCH, or Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health program, is considered rather innovative in a country where abstinence-only education is still promoted in many public schools. 

ABC says over 2,200 New York City girls have children by the time they're 17, while around 7,000 NYC girls gets pregnant. Most have abortions. 

Opponents claim that the emergency contraceptive pill promotes unsafe sexual practices among teens, and that the youngsters should be exposed to abstinence-only sex ed instead. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Study: Birth control access boosts women's earnings

However, although teen pregnancy rates are dropping in the USA—with a 44 percent decrease from 1991 to 2010 via CDC figures—they're still up to nine times higher than those recorded in other developed countries, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Recent research out of the University of Michigan found that women with early-in-life access to birth control pills and other forms of contraception made 8 percent more money than those without access—which might make a compelling argument for New York's new policy.