The nonprofit organization hopes to reach an estimated 75,000 teens and provide them with access to accurate information, important resources, and helpful supplies.
Let's face it, sex education in the United States sucks. Like, actually, hardcore sucks. Whether it's conservative schools that feed young teens abstinence-only information or teachers who demonize sexuality - especially that of women - there is a lot that simply needs to change if we are to equip our kids with potentially life-saving advice about sex, intimacy, and relationships. So since school boards and you know, our whole government, can't be trusted to do that, nonprofit organization Planned Parenthood is stepping in. Over the next three years, the firm plans to open up modern reproductive health centers across 50 schools in Los Angeles. It is set to be "the most ambitious effort in the country to bring these types of services to at-risk students in public schools," The Washington Post reports.
The program has already received quite a hefty investment. Los Angeles County has provided an initial investment of $10 million. An additional $6 million will be diverted to this project directly from Planned Parenthood. The program will provide a full range of birth control options, testing, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, as well as informative pregnancy counseling services. However, perhaps due to its contentious nature, the organization will not be offering abortion as part of the services. The program is expected to reach and benefit an estimated 75,000 teens in the area.
Once their schools are equipped with the reproductive health centers, students will have the benefit of simply walking in or making appointments in order to gain access to the information, resources, and supplies they need. Reportedly, students will also be able to schedule appointments during class hours, making the center even more accessible. Most importantly, schools will not be able to take a peek into their students' files, ensuring confidentiality and privacy. As per California law, all minors are allowed to consent to a range of certain medical services. This includes receiving birth control or mental health counseling. Additionally, health care providers are not permitted to inform a parent of their child's medical decisions without the minor’s explicit, uncoerced permission.
The reproductive health centers will be called "Wellbeing Centers." This is because their primary aim doesn't revolve solely around sex. Instead, they have been developed as a way to "support their general well-being, the ups and downs of being a teen." Sue Dunlap, president of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, claims that participants in parent and community meetings have been rather supportive thus far. She believes the introduction of these centers will lead to the normalization of sex and everything that comes with it. She vehemently affirmed, "I do anticipate, as this becomes public, we will have very normal and healthy debate around sexuality and schools and what it is to be engaged in family communication around healthy adolescence." Way to go, Planned Parenthood! This is exactly what young students need in order to acquire accurate information and stay healthy.