Fox News attacked a partnership between Planned Parenthood and a Los Angeles area high school for entering into a partnership that has reportedly reduced teen pregnancies without any significant parental objections.
As part of their continuing assault on Planned Parenthood, Fox News called the school's clinic, which is run by Planned Parenthood, "controversial" and promoted the objections of critics of the program. In his report on the program, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy stated:
DOOCY: A controversial move in California: Some high schools there in California now allowing Planned Parenthood to set up shop at some high schools. They'll provide students with free birth control, counseling, and pregnancy tests at the high school. Critics say this should be done by parents and not through the school.
Almost everything about Doocy's short statement is wrong. According to the Los Angeles Times, one school, Roosevelt High School, is partnering with Planned Parenthood to staff a reproductive and primary health care clinic. But the article reported that, according to the local Planned Parenthood chapter, parents in the school want their children to have access to reproductive health care. From the article:
Planned Parenthood's Los Angeles executive director, Sue Dunlap, said Latino families generally want access to information and care. "We really don't experience the traditional narrative of angry parents not wanting access to reproductive care in the schools," she said. "It's really the opposite."
Moreover, there is a reason why students are given opportunities to make their own health care decisions instead of it only being "done by parents." Requiring parental consent for students to receive birth control at the clinic would actually be a violation of California law. According to a report on the Los Angeles County government's website, in California, "a minor may receive birth control without parental consent." The same goes for health care related to a pregnancy. Furthermore, with regard to contraceptive and pregnancy treatment, "[t]he health care provider is not permitted to inform a parent or legal guardian without the minor's consent."
California's law protecting minors' privacy on these issues is in line with a statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the issue, which discusses birth control and sexually transmitted diseases as areas in which "the boy's or girl's right to privacy supersedes the parent's right to know":
Since the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court and many state legislatures have expanded the rights of minors to make health-care decisions for themselves. These laws were enacted not to undermine parents' authority, but in recognition of the reality that harmony and open communication do not reign in every family. In cases where notifying a parent would pose an obstacle to an adolescent's receiving needed medical care, the boy's or girl's right to privacy supersedes the parent's right to know.
Examples include abortion, obtaining birth control and screening for the HIV virus, as well as treatment for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases; mental health problems; substance abuse; and rape, incest or sexual abuse. The majority of teenagers who test positive for HIV or who desire an abortion do tell their moms and dads. It's not surprising; they're usually scared and upset, and desperately want their parents' love and support. When kids choose to keep their condition a secret, it's frequently because they fear their parents will react violently, or throw them out of the house.
Finally, although Planned Parenthood's involvement is a more recent development, the existence of the clinic is nothing new. And when the clinic temporarily closed, there were reportedly a rash of positive pregnancy test, which slowed after the clinic re-opened. From the Times:
The campus began offering contraception and counseling in 1997. But in 2006, a collaboration with a local hospital ended and the school no longer had the resources to provide free contraceptives. In 2008, [Sherry] Medrano [the nurse practitioner who runs the Roosevelt health clinic] said, she saw 32 positive pregnancy tests during her peak period between March 1 and June 1 -- around the time of spring break and prom.
Medrano then reached out to Planned Parenthood, which now provides a medical assistant, the contraceptives and the pregnancy and STDs testing. The organization bills Family PACT, a public program that provides family planning to low-income and uninsured California residents.
In 2009, Medrano said, she saw three pregnancies during the same time period. The numbers have since climbed to about 10. Only a few parents have complained about the program since it began, she said.