While New York Schools Distribute "Morning After" Pills, Anchorage Schools Take Less Controversial Measures
ANCHORAGE - News from a New York City school district is raising eyebrows across the country.
Here in Anchorage the situation is very different.
If Dimond High School is typical of self-reported surveys across the state, a little less than half the students there are having sex. And worries about getting pregnant go right along with that.
Because district policy stresses abstinence, Dimond school nurse Susan Whited can’t hand out contraceptives of any kind. But she can offer students information about where to go and the ear of an understanding adult who will listen.
“They can tell us anything and we will try and help them in any way we can,” says Whited. “By giving them information here or referring them outside to other places.”
In Alaska, teens don’t need their parent’s permission to get contraception. When it comes to the morning after pill that can prevent pregnancy several days after intercourse, they can buy that without a prescription at most pharmacies. But teens who are 16 and younger do need a prescription to get the drug and many come to Planned Parenthood to get it.
“It’s just a basic real quick screening,” says Planned Parenthood’s Jen Jarvis. “A lot of the time is spent on how they’ll take the drug, this is what you can expect, just so they are fully aware and making sure they are educated.”
Providers say part of that process includes making sure the girls are not in any danger or in abusive situations. Both the Anchorage School District and Planned Parenthood say teens should be encouraged to talk to their parents about these kinds of issues and, if not them, at the very least, a trusted adult.