On November 14, 2019, the Lynn School Committee held a vote to decide if the School-Based Health Centers in three public high schools in Lynn, MA should provide free oral contraceptive pills, Depo-Provera shots, condoms, and Plan B emergency contraception to students. Lynn has a population of approximately 94,000(1) and is the fourth largest school district in the state(2). Lynn continues to have rates of teen pregnancy over three times as high as the state average (2016). STI prevention is also a concern, as Lynn saw twenty-one cases of chlamydia in September 2019(3). The vote was a unanimous “yes,” breaking down barriers to access that have previously plagued high schoolers seeking contraception. The Lynn Community Health Center offers confidential OB/GYN and reproductive health services for teens, but getting to the Lynn Community Health Center has proven to be a challenge for many teenagers desiring these services. Expanding these services to the School Based Health Centers will hopefully meet the goals of increasing education and access, while decreasing unplanned teen pregnancies. Parental consent will not be required for the free birth control, condoms, and emergency contraception offered at the three School-Based Health Centers (Lynn Classical, Lynn Vocational Technical, and Lynn English high schools).
“Access to confidential birth control in high schools is an evidence-based way to prevent undesired teen pregnancy. We hear over and over the concern that access to birth control will make teens have more sex-but there is just no data that this is true. When teens have better access to birth control, we see fewer pregnancies-not more or younger sexual experiences.”
–Julie Potter, MD, Associated Medical Director, Adolescent Center, Boston Medical Center
To watch a video of the Lynn School Committee Meeting on 11/14/2019 click here: https://www.boston25news.com/news/lynn-school-committee-votes-to-offer-free-contraception-across-district/1008799290/