High schools should pass out free contraceptives

High schools should pass out free contraceptives

Introduction
Nowadays the rates of unintended pregnancy at high schools are extremely high and they grow every year. This is a great problem of the young generation and free contraception distribution at high schools can be one of the possible ways out. A number of famous and reliable institutions and universities in the USA, United Kingdom and other countries have adopted programs that are aimed to provide high school students with free contraceptives. The bright examples are Louis D. Brandeis High School, West Side Manhattan High School and many others.
Opponents of such programs state that distribution of free contraceptives at high school won’t lower pregnancy rates among teenager girls; furthermore, it will definitely increase intercourse among high school students and even those who have not been yet involved in sexual relations, will do it. Such opinions are not supported by evidence because recent researches made in a number of high schools show that sex rates do not increase. “Previous research with adolescents has indicated that making contraceptives accessible does not increase sexual activity among adolescents who weren’t previously sexually active. The fact that we did not see an increase in demand for contraceptives among the student population at these schools seems to agree with these findings” (Brindis, 2000, p. 41).
It goes without saying that only distribution of free contraceptives won’t change the situation in the contemporary society greatly. Such actions must be followed by special high school clinic organization and special training and holding of seminars. Teaching about sexuality is a very important part of education. The role of medical workers is significant as such a science as sexology is very close to medicine and needs professional knowledge of the subjects. The help of the nurse in explaining to the teens about contraception methods would be really required. First of all, teenagers have a lot of sources to get information about contraception and not all of them give the trustworthy information on the issue. Usually teenagers have a lot of questions on the contraception but they are afraid to address their parents and even if they do, not all the parents know all the changes in this sphere or have medical education to give a required help. Addressing older and “more experienced” friends, teenagers just follow their mistakes and hurt themselves. The professional help of the nurse would be necessary to give the true information and good advice to help in real situations. Either individual consultation or work in groups could solve a lot of problems in the lives of teenagers (cited in Kirby, 2001).
Sexual education is a necessary part of modern educational process and the family planning methods are among the most important aspects of sexual education. So called “house” methods bring more harm than use and medical information about the problem is necessary not only for teenagers who make their first steps in sexual life but for their parents also as the situation changes very quickly. Despite all the programs of health care and birth control the orphanages are full of children and I think it’s one of the reasons for family planning advertising. This is an alarm signal that more attention should be put to the medical information of the family planning. The assistance of nurses and doctors is necessary in this field as the people can choose only possessing the true and real information which can be provided only by the people with medical education.
Decrease of Unintended Pregnancy Rate
High schools should pass out free contraceptives because it will help to decrease the unintended pregnancy rates. Unintended pregnancy can become a serious problem. Most high school students are not ready to become parents and they do not plan their families at the age of 16 or 18. If a girl decides not to make an abortion and have a child, the couple usually marries, although before they did not intent to do it. Such marriage is often unhappy, although sometimes there are exceptions. Family planning is very important but high school students often are not ready to create families.
There can be found a lot of advantages of family planning for all its members. First of all in well-planned families children get more attention, better social conditions and are more likely to have less health problems according to the research of sociologists. In future, these children have better and closer relationship with their parents. Women also benefit from family planning. They can have better health care and can avoid unsafe abortion and much stress caused by unplanned pregnancy. It’s commonly known that pregnancy is a big test for a woman and she passes it much better if this pregnancy is well-planned and the woman is physically and emotionally ready to bear a child. Both men and women can get a freedom of choice through the family planning and get also through less emotional and financial strain (Bearman, 1999).
Taking into account all these consequences it becomes even more obvious that distribution of free contraceptives is very important, as it helps to control birth. Birth control consists of the methods that can be used to prevent or delay pregnancy. The means taken to prevent these meetings are called the contraceptives. There are several big groups of contraceptives. Contraceptive options for women include: hormonal contraceptives (oral contraceptives, implants, and injections), the intrauterine device (IUD), barrier devices with or without spermicides (diaphragm, cervical cap, female condom), natural family planning methods, female sterilization (tubal ligation). Contraception for men includes male sterilization, condoms, spermicides and some others. It is obvious that it is unnecessary and even undesirable to distribute all these contraceptives at high schools. Condoms are the safest and the most tested method of protection. Free condoms distribution is the necessary measure to make students have safe sex.
Premature Motherhood
High schools should pass out free contraceptives because it helps to prevent premature motherhood and so decrease risk to the young mother’s health and her child. Being careless and not thinking about their future high school students often do not use condoms or other contraceptives and, as a result, girls can become pregnant at the age of 17 or even earlier. Premature pregnancy can be dangerous for health of both – for the mother and her child, because teenager’s organism is not yet prepared for pregnancy. Premature pregnancy is associated with financial and health problems. Premature pregnancy is dangerous not only for young mothers but for their children too.
The care for premature children is very expensive and difficult. Children born before the due date are put at bigger risks right after the birth and very often they are placed into the neonatal intensive care units (NICU) during the first hours or even days after the delivery. NICU are special devices designed in order to defend prenatal babies from stress and create comfortable conditions for better growth and development. NICU create steady temperature regime, provide necessary defense from harmful influence and create conditions for better growth and development. “Due to many recent advances, more than 90% of premature babies who weigh 800 grams or more (a little less than 2 pounds) survive. Those who weigh more than 500 grams (a little more than 1 pound) have a 40% to 50% chance of survival, although their chances of complications are greater” (American Academy of Pediatrics). Due to little weight, premature babies lack for body fat, which maintains normal body temperature. That is why premature babies need special temperature regime. Radiant warmers or incubators are used to create the necessary temperature of the air in order to keep the normal body temperature. In modern hospitals incubators made of transparent plastic are usually used. “Most premature infants have to be fed slowly because of the risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an intestinal infection unique to preemies. Breast milk can be pumped by the mother and fed to the premature baby through a tube that goes from the baby’s nose or mouth into the stomach “(American Academy of Pediatrics). Breast milk is the best variant of premature babies’ nutrition. The problem is that young girls who become mothers often do not have breast milk.
Most health problems, which occur with the premature babies, happen because their organs are underdeveloped at the moment of their birth and are not ready to function normally yet. Hyperbilirubinemia, apnea, anemia, low blood pressure and respiratory distress syndrome are widespread diseases among the premature children. In addition to mentioned illnesses, premature babies are more subjected to different infections. That is why they need special care and special regime till they get normal weight and their organs start functioning on the normal basis (cited in McHaffie, 1990).
Risks of Unsafe Sex
Another reason why free contraceptives should be passed out at high school is the fact that they decrease risk of unsafe sex and so prevent different venereal diseases. Unsafe sex, especially with different partners, can lead to venereal diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis; cancer of the cervix; HIV, which can then cause AIDS; other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, herpes, public lice, viral warts and others. Chlamydia is a transmitted infection, which is widely spread in the 21st century. What is even more dangerous, unsafe sex can lead to female infertility. Having sex with an infected boy, a girl can get pelvic infection, which, in its turn, can cause female infertility. Most girls and especially boys do not think or even do not know about such great risks of unsafe sex. It is necessary to provide high school students with free contraceptives and introduce sex education that is really very important.
Venereal diseases are difficult to treat, another problem is that teenagers are often afraid to tell their parents about them and wait till the critical point. Most parents, in their turn, can not even imagine that their favourite daughter of son, being the best child for them in the world, can have a venereal disease. Special free clinics at high schools can help to solve this problem. Students will be able to get professional consultations and their parents will not know about it without their children’s will. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that in any case it is better to prevent a disease than to cure it. Even from the economic point of view, free contraceptives are necessary – they reduce all risks of unsafe sex, including premature pregnancy, and so reduce costs on different treatments, tests and checks. We won’t even speak about physical and psychological benefits of safe sex with contraceptives (cited in Herbarth, 2003).
Abortions Prevention
Speaking about free contraceptives at high schools, we must take into account one of the greatest advantages of this action – abortion prevention. Girls at the age of 17 of 18 become frightened getting to know that they are pregnant. They are not ready to be mothers, they do not see another way out but to make an abortion. Abortion is allowed by the Federal Law of United States. According to federal law, each woman has a constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy, state laws can add some restrictions to federal law. In the United States, like in many countries abortion is allowed under certain criteria. Pregnancy can be terminated at any term if is justified by serious reason, such as preserving physical or mental health of women, saving the life of the woman, embryo impairment. Abortion is also allowed if pregnancy started as a result of rape or incest. All these cases are prescribed by the law but in reality the situation is different: there are a lot of private clinics, where abortion is a usual operation and it can be made anonymously. Young girls rush to such clinics and make abortions often forgetting about their consequences. Free contraceptives can stop these terrible actions and just prevent abortions.
Even young girls start to argue that abortion is their own choice and to ban the abortion means to discriminate their rights. Meanwhile, legalized abortions are regarded as a discrimination against babies since fetus is recognized as a human being. Those, who talk about the rights of women, forget about the rights of unborn children, who are already human beings and have their rights, which should be protected by the Constitution.
All pro-abortion arguments are based on the thesis about the rights of women. They state that banning abortions will be a discrimination of women because it limits their rights and freedoms. In reality, women in modern society do have freedom to decide when to become a mother. Modern methods of contraception give a wide range of possibilities to plan pregnancy and chose the time appropriate for the birth of the child. Abortion should not be a method of family planning. Family planning should consist of avoiding undesired pregnancy and taking responsibilities in the cases when a woman gets pregnant. Right for life is guaranteed by the Constitution and all those, who insist on the abortion banning, stress that since there is no agreed opinion about the moment when human life starts it is better to behave as is starts right after fertilization because in this way we will not kill anybody in the case of mistake. They insist that until no certain decision about this issue is legal, judiciary institution should behave in a way, which preserves life. “The burden of proof in law is on the prosecution. The benefit of doubt is with the defense. This is also known as a presumption of innocence. The defendant is assumed to be innocent unless proven guilty. Again the burden of proof is on the entity that would take away life or liberty” (Schmiege, 2005, p. 147). The same rule should be applied in the cases of abortions, where the value of human life should be regarded as the highest treasure and all legitimate acts should be based on this principle.
Despite all the controversy of the abortion question, nobody will argue that anyway it is a difficult decision for a woman, especially for a young girl, who is just a student, so the best way is to prevent abortion.
Nowadays young women are very interested in the Abortion Pill because, firstly, it requires no surgical operation, secondly, such kind of abortion takes place at home, so it is possible to make such an abortion anonymously and, thirdly, for some women it seems more natural than surgical abortion. High school students think that it is the most appropriate decision for them. The advantages are obvious but there is also another side that is not so optimistic. According to the Food Drug Administration today in the United States six women have died after taking the Abortion Pill RU-486 and that is official information. Another case of fatal accident is registered in Canada(cited in Hershenov, 2003).
According to the statistics, the pill was used in about 560,000 cases of the abortion in the United States, so we can easily count that death risk is more that one case in 100,000, while the risk of death after the surgical abortion is one case in a million. Taking into account that not all cases of death connected with the Abortion Pill are reported, the risk is even higher (cited in Gardiner, 2006).
Another problem is the women’s complaints on the complications after the abortion with the help of the pill. The research shows that women after abortion pills have suffered from nausea, vomit, pain and worrisome bleeding much more often than women after surgical abortion. The state of health is worse in the first case.
Another fact that doesn’t count in favor of the Abortion Pill is doubts in its effectiveness. If to compare medical and surgical abortions we can see that the first ones are five to ten times to fail in comparison with surgical abortions. Of course, the cases of failure require immediate surgical operation and complications in such cases are very often. It’s obvious that the later the woman makes an abortion, the greater the risk is, and late abortion after the failure with the abortion pill can be really very dangerous for a woman.
We can see that abortion pills can not help to solve this difficult problem and it proves one more time that special trainings and seminars, devoted to unsafe sex and its consequences with free contraception distribution, are necessary.
Conclusion
The problem of unsafe sex and premature pregnancy is critical nowadays. Pregnancy rates at high schools are extremely high, students often do not use contraceptives not thinking about consequences, their parents live in unreal world unless something terrible happens with their child and high school administration does not pay attention to this problem. This problem will never be solved if school administration does not take any measurements. It is necessary to distribute free contraceptives at high schools, organize clinics on the basis of universities with free consultations and hold sex education for high school students.


References
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2002). Premature babies: Growth and development.
Bearman, P. and Bruckner, H. (1999). Power In Numbers: Peer Effects on Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Debut and Pregnancy. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Brindis, C., Pagliaro, S. and Davis, L. (2000). Protection As Prevention: Contraception for Sexually Active Teens. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Gardiner, H. (2006, April 1). Some Doctors Voice Worry Over Abortion Pills’ Safety. The New York Times.
Herbarth, L. (1993). Ninth International Conference on AIDS.
Hershenov, D. (2001, January).Abortions and Distortions. Social Theory and Practice, 27:1, 129-148.
Joffe, C. (1995). Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion Before and After Roe v. Wade. Boston: Beacon Press.
Kirby, Douglas. (2001). Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
McHaffie, H. E. (1990). Mothers of very low birthweight babies: how do they adjust? J Adv Nurs, 15, 6-11.
Russo, N. F., & Zierk, K.L. (1992). Abortion, childbearing and women. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 23(4), 269-280.
Schmiege, S. & Russo, N.F. (2005). Depression and unwanted first pregnancy: longitudinal cohort study. British Medical Journal, 331 (7528).