Our View: Morning after pill should accompany sex education

DKS Editors

More than 50 high schools in New York City are distributing the morning after pill — a contraceptive used after sex — to students.

New York City averages more than 7,000 pregnancies between the ages of 15 and 17 each year. The school system, which already provides condoms, birth control and other contraceptives, is taking the step to combat that number. In what is possibly an even more startling statistic, more than two-thirds of those teen pregnancies end in an abortion.

Parents are allowed to opt their children out of the program, but the city’s health department said only between 1 and 2 percent of parents have chosen to opt out.

The morning after pill requires a prescription for women younger than 17 years old, but it can be purchased from a pharmacist with valid identification.

The aggressive policy to combat teenage pregnancy has drawn criticism from many who worry the program is encouraging students to engage in unprotected sex or even start having sex.

The Daily Kent Stater editorial board agrees that while these programs can help prevent teenage pregnancy, the main focus of the school system should be educating students on the dangers of unprotected sex — and sex in general — alongside providing contraception.

It may appear to be unseemly to some parents, but high school students are going to have sex. That is a fact. Educating them on how to protect themselves and giving them the resources to make good decisions is much more effective than asking them to completely abstain from sex.

It comes down to a simple question. Are you more likely to stop teenagers from having sex, or more likely to convince them to do it safely?

All in all, we applaud the New York City high schools that chose to give students the tools to practice safe sex. We just hope they focus on why it is important, too.