Collier parent reacts to morning-after pills available at NYC schools
IMMOKALEE, Fla. - A local mother is disgusted that the New York City Department of Education is making the morning-after-pill available to high school girls at 13 public schools.
"They should be asking the parents. It's not the school's responsibility to be giving them a choice," said Jamie Valencia, a Collier County mother of four.
The department says girls as young as 14 will be able to get the Plan B emergency contraception without parental consent.
The city says about 7,000 girls get pregnant by the time they reach the age of 17. It says more than half choose to get an abortion.
There is no indication that a program like this would ever take hold in Southwest Florida, but compared to New York City, the teen pregnancy rate in Collier County is relatively low. There were 264 teen pregnancies in 2010 and 216 in 2011.
While those numbers indicate such a program may not be needed when compared to those out of New York City, Planned Parenthood of Collier County said it would be welcome.
"It is a great opportunity for teens and parents to facilitate discussions and for young people to have the upper hand and make health decisions for themselves," said Sara Vitale, Director of Community and Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Collier County.
The organization says such a program is all about giving access to teenagers and insists there is a misconception that it will end up promoting sexual activity among teens.
"We feel that if teens have more options...more education. Then they can make better decisions for their future and we can have a healthy community."
Officials in New York say only about 2% of parents opted out of the program.
NYC schools already distribute free condoms to students.