The Department of Education is providing morning-after pills and other birth-control drugs to students at 13 city high schools.
School nurse offices supplied with the contraceptives can dispense "Plan B" emergency contraception and other oral or injectable birth control to girls as young as 14 without telling their parents, unless the parents opt out of the program after receiving a school informational letter about the program.
New York City high schools have supplied free condoms to teens but this is the first time city schools have given hormonal birth control and Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH) is part of a citywide plan to prevent teen pregnancy.
The city says about 7,000 girls get pregnant by the time they reach the age of 17. It says more than half choose to get an abortion.
The Plan B distribution could be the first of its kind in the nation according to The National Association of School Nurses. The organization said it could not locate another school district that supplies Plan B.
The Department of Health told the NY Post that in a pilot program for five city schools last year, 567 students received Plan B tablets and 580 students received Reclipsen birth-control pills.
Parents may prevent their kids from receiving pregnancy tests or contraceptives if they sign and return an opt-out statement. If they do not, schools can confidentially give the contraception without the parent's knowledge.
The schools reportedly involved in the pilot program are:
High School of Fashion Industries in Chelsea; Adlai Stevenson and Grace Dodge in The Bronx; Boys and Girls, Clara Barton, W.H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education, Abraham Lincoln and Paul Robeson in Brooklyn; John Adams, Newcomers, Queens Vocational and Technical, and Voyagers in Queens; and Port Richmond on Staten Island.
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