When we shamefully tell our grandchildren that yes, we were the generation that gave legitimate attention to arguments over “legitimate rape” (which is when a woman’s body fights the attacker’s sperm with its laser ovaries), at least we’ll be able to say that we were there when Rupert Murdoch’s conservative New York Post finally gave up the ghost and tepidly supported birth control and Plan B for high school students who forgot to put the aspirin between their legs.
It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Sure, the headline of yesterday’s piece has all the signs of the usual fear-mongering–“NYC schools give out morning-after pills to students — without telling parents”–but it’s already missing that exclamation point that separates the story from a shocked scandal to something resembling objectivity, if you squint hard enough.
Well, except for the fact that the Department of Education did send out letters alerting parents whose children were enrolled in the 14 schools where the new CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health) program had been implemented over the past year, and gave those parents the right to opt their under-18 child out of the program. (Only 1 to 2 percent of them did, according to The New York Times.) But still! Baby steps!
And then the article itself was fairly straightforward and factual, explaining how CATCH is addressing the “citywide attack against the epidemic of teen pregnancy, which spurs many girls–most of them poor–to drop out of school.” That sounds … almost positive!
And while it’s certainly unconventional (to say the least) that the DOH didn’t really alert anyone outside of the school that they were handing out Depo-Provera shots, birth control and Plan B to students, or that (pregnancy test administered by a counselor aside) they were doing so without any sort of physical or gynecological checkup as a precautionary measure, we’re not complaining. That’s the Post‘s job! Instead, this is all they could muster up in terms of an offensive:
But sophomore Annette Palacios, 15, outside the school with her mom, said parents should give consent in case their children are “allergic” to the drugs.
“Girls shouldn’t be sexually active at that age,” she added.
Her mom, Pania, complained that she got no opt-out letter — and does not want Annette to secretly get Plan B or birth-control pills from the nurse.
“Parents should know if their daughter is pregnant,” she said.
Gah! What? That’s not even a legitimate argument, since if your daughter gets emergency contraceptive in time, you won’t need to know she’s pregnant. Because she won’t be. (Probably. There’s still that .001 percent chance, we guess.) It’s not like birth control’s function is to hide pregnancy until your water breaks.
At the very end, the Post manages to slip in the singularly well-argued point against secret birth control programs in inner city schools:
“We can’t give out a Tylenol without a doctor’ s order,” said a school staffer. “Why should we give out hormonal preparations with far more serious possible side effects, such as blood clots and hypertension?”
There we go! That’s more like it! Now if maybe you could couple that with a headline like:
Teachers Talk Teens Into Terminating Tots!
City Officials Implement Top-Secret Early Abortion Programs … Using YOUR Students as Guinea Pigs!