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High school students do not always have access to birth control.

Cameron Jones, Staff Writer

Contraception is important, it helps prevent things like pregnancy and STD’s. This can be through the use of condoms, the pill, an IUD, and many more. Some methods like condoms are widely available at drugstores, but it takes a doctor visit to get a birth control pill or an IUD. No options are available at Rocky Mountain High School.


Some forms of contraception are better than others. IUD’s and the implant are far more effective than a sponge or a cervical cap. IUD’s on average are 99% percent effective, while the pill is 91% effective and condoms are 85% effective. Condoms are certainly better than no contraception at all. 


“The district policy is that we are not allowed to hand out contraception at all,” Rocky nurse Gina Harris said. She added that Centennial High School has their own clinic that works outside of the jurisdiction of PSD, which means they can provide birth control. “If I could, I would have a basket full of condoms,” she said.


Centennial High School is the only school in the PSD district that has a clinic that is available to students. At first it was only open to Centennial students, but now it is open to all students who have a PSD student ID. 


Students can go and get condoms or if they just have a paper cut on their finger and need a band aid. It is treated as an urgent care clinic, students can go and get checked out for any ailment or issue–including contraception.


“You don’t just rely on one gender to take care of contraception. Guys are limited on what they have for birth control, where women have a lot more choices,” Harris said after being asked about the stigma around birth control. Some places like Walmart have started locking up their condoms, which doesn’t set a good tone for young men who might be sexually active.  Harris also said that it is much better to teach birth control early on so the stigma is dismissed earlier on in life rather than learning about it into adulthood. “The sooner you talk about it, the sooner you destigmatize it and it becomes a conversation.”


“I think there should be [more access], but I think it should be monitored so kids don’t steal them, there is also the possibility of kids being more encouraged to have sex because of condoms in high school,” Angie Fellhauer, an employee at a Walmart in Denver said. Fellhauer said that her store does lock up the condoms, but it’s because of theft. Even if it is just because of that that still makes it harder for young men to get them, putting the burden on women. 


There are many more contraceptive options for women. For example, girls as old as 16 can get an implant without needing their parents permission. The implant is 99% effective and can cost anywhere from $0 to $1300. Planned Parenthood also works with each person to try to find birth control that fits their budget and needs.


Because of the Affordable Care Act, anyone with insurance can get birth control for free or for a reduced price. The Trump administration is trying to undo that and has cut a good deal of funding for Planned Parenthood, which just makes it even harder for young people to get the reproductive help they need. 


Teen pregnancy rates are down and birth control use in Colorado is particularly high. Making it more available would still improve these statistics.


Contraception is important, it can help prevent things like STD’s and pregnancy, but it’s not always as available as it should be. High schools especially should have something available to students, as this is a time of growing and experimentation and kids are going to make their own decisions; they should be able to do it safely.