The controversy behind contraceptives

Michelle Yurovsky

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So talking about condoms is pretty awkward… especially at New Trier.  It’s a touchy subject for some, and hilarious to a sad amount of others.  Regardless, we should be able to talk about, and have access to, means of contraception without the stigma associated with them.

Aside from a semester of health sophomore year, it seems to me that there really is no other emphasis on the importance of contraception. There is also an undeniable sense of discomfort when health teachers try to talk to sophomores about sex and condoms. It’s not the program, it’s some of the kids.  It is just a shame that, at least in my class, most of us chose to goof off.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the case in most health classes.

The students of New Trier take part in a 9-week sexual education program.  Although this is already more than what most schools have, this alone is not enough to raise awareness about the importance of protection.  Condoms need to be available at New Trier because let’s face it: just because you tell someone to get them, does not mean they will.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, “24 more of Chicago Public Schools’ 106 high schools will make free condoms available for their students.”  Why shouldn’t New Trier do the same?

The CPS schools have a program in place that distributes condoms to the students.  The program is part of a broader teen pregnancy prevention initiative.

With sexual education being such a big component of the sophomore year curriculum it would make sense to have condoms present so that students could safely and effectively learn how to use them, while also having easy access to them.

I am convinced that if teenagers openly received condoms in school, rather than from friends who have had them in their pockets for who knows how long, they would be more willing to use them.

Many teens are reluctant to go to stores to buy condoms because of the inevitable awkward encounters at the register. With the closing of the Angles clinic, there are even less options for where students can go to get condoms while avoiding those encounters.

If the nurse’s office just had them available by the Band-Aids, everyone would have an easy and comfortable way to stay protected.

According to the Chicago Tribune, in May of 1998 Evanston Township High school gained the boards approval to distribute condoms to students who had their parents’ permission.

The school’s superintendent said he believed that the program was necessary to reduce teen pregnancy and provide education to students. He said at the high school, which has an enrollment of 2,800 students, 34 to 39 students give birth each year.

Although that is not necessarily the case at New Trier, it is still important to encourage sexual education, and promote awareness.

It is impossible to deny that a percentage of the students of New Trier are sexually active.  Some teens will choose to have sex, but teens also aren’t always the most critical thinkers. Condoms should be accessible to high school students for free. The alternative will be teens still having sex, but with the risk of pregnancy or STDs.  It makes much more sense to have access to condoms at our school and not use them, than be too embarrassed to buy them and get someone pregnant.

With that knowledge in mind, we shouldn’t wait any longer to take initiative to try to prevent teenage pregnancies.

Opponents of the proposal argue that providing condoms to students would encourage sexual activity and promiscuity.  Some argue that providing students with contraceptives would give them a false sense of security about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and policy institute, schools in New York, Philadelphia and California did not experience a rise in students who are sexually active when condoms are readily available.

New Trier should hop on the band wagon with Evanston and have condoms available for students.

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