February 26, 2013


Sanger's Racist Legacy Lives on in New York City Schools (Anne Hendershott, 2/26/13, Crisis)

Today, New York City's public school students--underage and without parental knowledge--are given access to birth control pills, Depo-Provera injections, and the insertion of plastic IUDs to prevent pregnancy. In an analysis of the records of 40 school based health centers in New York City--most of them in schools with large minority populations, the New York Post revealed that about 22,400 students sought reproductive care from January, 2009 through 2012.

In addition to these routine contraceptives, the City's schools are providing students with Plan-B, the "morning-after pill" to prevent pregnancy. The Post reports that "handouts of the morning-after pill to sexually active students have skyrocketed" from 5,039 doses given to teenage students during the 2009-10 school year, to 12,721 doses given in 2011-12. Under New York State law, minors can obtain reproductive services without their parent's permission.

Like Sanger's early alliances with the City, New York's Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health launched the current contraceptive project with a grant from the Fund for Public Health in New York.  According to an internal report published by the City, and obtained by a Freedom of Information Law request by the Post, New York City spent $2.7 million on the centers this fiscal year. While the report lauds the reduction in teen pregnancies in the city, it seems that there are some parents, like Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, who have been critical of the program.  According to the Post, Davids, an African-American, noted that most school based health centers are in poor neighborhoods: "This was population control on blacks and Latinos without our knowledge."

Davids is correct. The National Assembly on School Based Health Care Census report documents that nationally, 70% of the student body in schools with school based health centers are members of minority groups.

As Justice Ginsburg said: " Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."

Posted by at February 26, 2013 11:44 AM

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