I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Albuquerque Public Schools doesn’t allow distribution of condoms??? Believe it.
I’m just as surprised as Albuquerque Journal reporter Charlie Eisenhood, who blogged this week about his shock in finding out that the Albuquerque Public Schools doesn’t allow the distribution of condoms or other birth control.
Meanwhile, New Mexico has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation.
“It’s so nonsensical that you don’t want to believe it when you hear it,” says Johnny Wilson of Planned Parenthood of New Mexico. “We have these health centers in schools — why would we not do what we can to prevent teen pregnancy?”
Eisenhood’s post came on the heels of a KOAT-TV report about a local organization Young Women United, which for years has been pushing APS to provide comprehensive sex education and health services for teens. The organization recently gave the APS board its own report card on sex ed, and the district’s grades were not good.
So if New Mexico has such a high teen pregnancy rate, why not just offer condoms in schools? A call to APS asking about the policy was not returned Thursday.
Offering teens free condoms and other birth control seems like an easy part of the solution to high teen pregnancy rates, but these efforts are often thwarted by folks who believe that providing birth control encourages teens to have sex. Studies show that’s not the case. As Eisenhood notes:
Here’s where APS policy can make a huge difference. A study (pdf) of Massachusetts high schools showed that those schools that offer condoms had students that were much more likely to use condoms, but actually less likely to report being sexually active. Other studies back this up — they show that making condoms available does not led to increased sexual activity.
While APS does not offer condoms or other birth control, other groups do. Planned Parenthood offices offer free condoms and same-day service for prescription birth control, which is offered at special teen rates.
Also, New Mexico Public Health Offices in Albuquerque offer birth control, STI testing, free condoms and other services. (Know of another resource? Post it in the comments section!)