April 13, 2017
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On Mar. 31, 2017 Angle’s Reproductive Heath Care Clinic in Northfield closed after 44 years of educating and serving the area.
According to a press release on the Angles website Dr. Loren Hutter, the Clinic’s Medical Director said about the closure, “When we opened our Clinic in the early 70s, there were very few options for teens who needed confidential counseling, birth control, pregnancy testing, gynecological exams and/or testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Now, over 40 years later, the landscape and options for our young population has changed dramatically. Our Clinic volume has been gradually declining over the last five years and much of that is due to greater numbers of insured young people who can obtain these services as covered preventative care.”
Later in the release Dr. Hutter cites the decrease in clinic volume to the teens “delaying sexual activity” and making educated decisions about their sexuality.
Angles’ closure, then, can be seen as a twisted success. Yes, students and others, will miss the Clinic’s resources, but its closure due to its diminishing visitors is a great triumph for sexual health in our area.
Since 1973, when Angles first opened, public schools sexual heath curriculum has expanded. From in the early 70s sexual education classes preaching sexual abstinence, to reformed sexual education cloaked with a controversial taboo, to present day where a accurate, evidence-based sexual education program educating about all topics from abortion, to contraception, to abstinence, and STDS is a pillar of New Trier’s heath curriculum.
We are lucky, many high school students still face abstinence-only sexual education which not only show the whole picture of sexual education but are inaccurate and ineffective. For in order for individuals to truly care for and respect their bodies they need all the information available.
So, yes, the New Trier community is privileged when it comes to the sexual education we receive and our increasingly affluent community gives us access to services to maintain our sexual health. With most of our parents on heath care plans attending yearly physicals, obtaining birth control, or testing and treatment for STDs will not break bank, but will force you to talk to a parent.
Now, yes, most parents will immediately help their child and ensure they get the services they need to remain healthy. Nevertheless the conversation is uncomfortable with the questions, the slightly disappointed glances, the awkward silences, the parent-child dynamic forever altered.
The closure of the Angles’ Clinic, though justified, creates difficult situations for some students seeking counseling or resources. Yes, by the age of 12 all individuals are granted confidentiality at doctors appointments, but these appointments often come with high costs, costs that will not go unnoticed by hovering eyes.
Furthermore students, rightly so, don’t want to share sexual heath issues with their parents. Angles, with confidential appointments, resources and helpful counseling, was a heaven for kids in search of support and information on sexual health.
Our sex ed unit will continue to teach us the in’s and out’s of relationships and how to live healthy lives. Although, the closing of a confidential health care clinic that many students used will be inconvenient, we will continue to be educated on our sexual health.