LYNN, Mass. (WPRI) — A Massachusetts school committee has voted to give free birth control to students across the district, without parental consent.
Condoms, birth control and emergency contraception will soon be made available to students at three high schools in the town of Lynn.
Lynn Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the state, has the sixth highest overall pregnancy rate in Massachusetts.
At a meeting Thursday night, while the vote was unanimous, the opinions were strong.
“They’re not ready, their mental cord, they not formed yet, they not,” parent Pedro Fabre said. “Providing contraceptive, free condoms and pills is like giving a 17-year-old boy a Lamborghini.”
“The birth of my baby brought bittersweet moments and postpartum depression, a bottle at 2 a.m., changing his diaper at 2 a.m.,” said Destiny Davis, a student at Lynn Tech. “Every day is a struggle and every day I strive to do the best I can.”
Both sides were fighting hard to persuade the school committee on an issue, that is deeply controversial.
State law in Massachusetts already doesn’t require parental consent for underage people to access contraceptives at school. Lynn now joins several other school districts in the state who have moved to follow it.
In Rhode Island, teens do not need parental consent to access birth control at certain health centers, but do for access in schools.
Pastor David Aucoin is a family advocate here in R.I.
He’s currently working to establish a local chapter of the Family Policy Alliance, designed to protect family and religious liberties that he says are violated by decisions like in Lynn.
“It’s just a violation of parental rights. Parents are the only ones that have the constitutional right to the moral and religious upbringing of their children and the school has no right to side step that.”
But even if the moral implication is removed, Pastor Aucoin raises concerns over the physical ones.
“A teenager can’t even get tylenol without them checking with the parents first. The school is providing powerful hormones to be passed out to kids,” he added.
Organizations such as Planned Parenthood, however, say it’s about healthy sexuality. A spokesperson for the Southern New England Chapter of the company said in part;
“Schools should provide comprehensive sexual health education and access to contraception. Empowering teens with factual, unbiased information about sexual and reproductive health often results in their ability to continue their education and become healthier, more productive adults.”
We’ve learned from the State Department of Health that two of the centers in R.I. where minors can get birth control, in West Warwick and Woonsocket, are school-based and Woonsocket does provide onsite birth control.