I am broken hearted about the fact that we as a society find ourselves in a place where we are debating the idea of giving birth control to 6th graders! The school board in Portland, Maine has voted 7 to 2 in favor of dispensing the birth control pill and the birth control patch to middle school students who visit the school health clinic. Yes, there's a problem with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. Yes, we can argue that the kids are going to have sex anyway, so let's help keep children from having children. But please tell me there's another way.
I am a mother whose daughter had unplanned sex at the very tender age of 13. She was very afraid to admit to us that she had gone to a birthday party as a virgin and came home changed forever. The whole experience was very confusing for her and it took her a couple of years (yes years) to admit the encounter with the 16-year old boy had actually been a rape. I guess I should be grateful that condoms had been made available to him and he had worn one before he forced himself on my daughter.
I do believe that making birth control available to kids makes them more likely to think it must be okay - after all, adults wouldn't give them something that's bad for them. Isn't that what we want them to believe? My daughter felt that since she was no longer a virgin, it wouldn't matter how many more guys she had sex with. She acted out not only with sex, but when that didn't fix her brokenness she turned to drugs. Her life nearly ended with a drug overdose in a sleazy motel room before it had even begun. My daughter was NOT emotionally ready for sex at the age of 13, and I shudder to think how much worse things could have turned out for her if she had started having sex at age 11.
In one of the CNN articles I read about the Portland, Maine school board decision, one mother's quote caught my eye. Sarah Thompson, the mother of an 8th grader said she supported the decision to make birth control available to the middle school students even though it made her "uncomfortable". She said, "I know I've done my job as a parent, but there may be a time when she doesn't feel comfortable coming to me....and not all these kids have a strong parental advocate at home."
Well, my daughter had two strong parental advocates at home, but everyone else and everything else told her sex was okay! We should all be looking out for the safety - emotional and physical safety - of our children! What's wrong with the school board, the teachers, the school counselors, the coaches, and the after school support staff joining forces with the parents to say to our very, very young children, "DON'T HAVE SEX!"