Birth Control Pills to Be Distributed to 6th Graders

20120809 Bishop Richard J. Malone presides at Evening Prayer with priests of the Diocese at St. Louis Church. (Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer)

Deal W. Hudson
October 18, 2007

Bishop Richard J. Malone is “outraged” about the decision of the Portland, Maine, school board to make birth control pills available to 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade girls at King Middle School. On Wednesday, the Portland School Committee voted 5-2 to make contraceptive pills available to girls, ages 11 to 13, at the student health center.

What makes this decision even more unbelievable is that the girls can receive the pills without parental permission. Students are required to have a parent’s permission to go to the health center, but subsequent treatment is confidential.

In other words, it’s up to the student to notify her parents about any treatment she receives. (It seems pretty unlikely that a daughter would come home from 6th grade and say to her parents, “Hey, Mom and Dad, I went on the pill today.”)

The only way parents can make sure their daughter does not receive contraceptives is by signing a statement barring them from using the school’s health service entirely.

In other words, families have to give up the medical services paid for by their tax money in order to protect their children from being given medical intervention that contradicts their religious beliefs.

A wrongheaded solution

Condoms have been made available at King Middle School since 2002. As it turns out, that’s not unusual. “About one-fourth of student health centers that serve at least one grade of adolescents 11 and older dispense some form of contraception,” said Divya Mohan, a spokeswoman for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

Proponents of the new Portland policy argue that many parents don’t act to “protect” their sexually active children. Only five of the 134 students who visited King’s health center during the 2006-07 school year reported having had sexual intercourse.

Rita Feeney, president of Maine Right to Life, commented: “This is the traditional doublespeak of people and organizations who claim they would counsel young children to avoid early sexual activity but then actively assist them in participating in risky behaviors, they say, because they’re going to do it anyway.”

Peter Doyle, a former middle school teacher, said the proposal violates the rights of parents, potentially ignoring their special knowledge of their children’s health, and puts young girls at risk of cancer from too early use of hormone-based contraceptives.

“You all are going to be responsible for the devastating effects on young women when this goes through,” he told the Associated Press.

Brian Gail, a Catholic writer from Philadelphia, is hosting a symposium on the dangers of contraception at this year’s Catholic Leadership Conference to be held in Charleston, South Carolina, October 25-26. Gail organized the CLC symposium because he predicted the pervasive contraceptive mentality would result in decisions like that of the Portland school board.

Sadly, Gail’s forecast came true just one week before the start of the symposium.

Gail told the Window, “The decision to provide hormonal contraceptives to middle school children defies incredulity. Last year the Mayo Clinic published the results of a comprehensive study which concluded that young women who use the pill for eight years before their first full-term pregnancy are 36 percent more likely to contract breast cancer later in life.”

Bishop Malone issued a formal statement later in the day. We can only hope his outrage will translate into a reversal of the school board decision. It’s absolutely unacceptable to exclude parents from the medical attention given to their children. It’s contrary to nature, and it should be contrary to law.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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