Many students are sexually active, and hundreds of thousands experience pregnancy every year. Smith, Novello, and Chacko’s research found that students at a school where contraception is available on site were more likely to access contraception and less likely to experience pregnancy – illustrating the power of school based health centers (SBHCs) to help students take responsibility and protect their own futures. Yet the majority of SBHCs are prohibited from dispensing contraception. To remove barriers in access to contraception and help reduce teen pregnany, policymakers, school administrators, and health providers should ensure that SBHCs follow youth-friendly protocols and provide confidential access to contraception.
Key Take Away Points
- Schools have a vested interest in helping teens protect their sexual health: teen pregnancy and STIs disrupt students' lives and create obstacles to academic success.
- School-based health centers (SBHCs) which provide contraception have great potential to help high school students prevent pregnancy.
- Most (60%) SBHCs are prohibited from distributing contraception.
- Policymakers, school administrators, and health providers should ensure that SBHCs follow youth-friendly protocols and provide confidential access to contraception.
Laura Davis is Director of Adolescent Sexual Health Services at Advocates for Youth. She has both international and domestic experience, including more than twenty-five years of program planning, teaching, training, and organizational development in the field of reproductive and sexual health. She is the former manager of a mall-based family planning clinic for teens and has worked as a consultant with International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United States Agency for International Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is the co-author (with Dr. Claire Brindis and Susan Pagliaro) of Communities Responding to the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (Advocates for Youth, 1998) and Protection as Prevention: Contraception for Sexually Active Teens (National Campaign, 2000).
Emily Bridges has been Advocates for Youth’s Director of Public Information Services since 2006. She oversees the content of Advocates’ Web sites, edits materials for publication, and writes blogs, fact sheets and other educational materials, including most recently "The Facts: Comprehensive Sex Education and Academic Success."
Davis, Laura and Bridges, Emily
"School Based Health Centers Should Provide Contraception to Teens,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 2
, Article 15.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol2/iss2/15
A Response To:
Does Immediate Access to Birth Control Help Prevent Pregnancy? A Comparison of Onsite Provision Versus Off Campus Referral for Contraception at Two School-Based Clinics by Peggy Smith, Gabrielle Novello, and Mariam R. Chacko.