Friday, November 02, 2007

Survey Finds 67% of Parents Favor Schools Giving Contraceptives to Teenagers

MSNBC has posted an AP article about the recent poll results displayed at the left. The poll found that just over two-thirds of U.S. parents surveyed support schools giving contraceptives to students.

The poll was conducted in late October after a school board in Portland, Maine, voted to allow a middle school health center provide full contraceptive services to students.

As the graphic shows, about half of those who favor of the idea would support it only after a parent gave consent. Minorities, low-income people and older Americans were most likely to want parental consent. Those favoring no restriction tended to be younger and from cities or suburbs.

Those saying sex education and birth control were better for reducing teen pregnancies outnumbered people preferring morality and abstinence by a slim 51 percent to 46 percent. Younger people were more likely to consider sex education and birth control a better way to limit teenage pregnancies, as were 64 percent of minorities and 47 percent of whites. Nearly seven in 10 white evangelicals opted for abstinence, along with about half of Catholics and Protestants.

In addition, 49 percent say providing teens with birth control would not encourage sexual intercourse and a virtually identical 46 percent said it would. Though men and women have similar views about whether to provide contraceptives to students, women are likelier than men to think it will not encourage sexual intercourse, 55 percent to 43 percent.

For perspective, it is important to note that less than one percent of middle schools and barely five percent of high schools make condoms available for students, according to a health scientist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other words, we are a long way from seeing this idea implemented on a widespread basis any time soon.

The survey shows clearly that a substantial majority of U.S. parents support schools providing birth control to students. But with just a slim majority grasping that it would reduce teen pregnancies, more efforts are necessary to document that is so.

Reducing teen pregnancies would in turn reduce the number of abortions by teenage mothers. It would add one more piece of evidence to support another recent finding, discussed in my 10/17 posting below: outlawing abortion is not effective for reducing it, but providing contraception is.

1 comment:

Arlene said...

I don't think accessability is the issue with teenagers - it's use and the believe that it will never happen to them.
Available condoms at school will not encourage students to have sex - but a frank acknowledgement that most of them are would be helpful and promote decent discussion