Planned Parenthood to open sexual health clinics in 50 Los Angeles high schools

Planned Parenthood to open sexual health clinics in 50 Los Angeles high schools

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Planned Parenthood announced Wednesday a joint project with the Los Angeles County government that includes opening 50 "wellbeing centers" at high schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide a range of reproductive services but not abortions.

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The project has already started. Five centers were opened before the beginning of the school year, and the rest are expected to be rolled out over two years, according to mynewsla.com. The effort is funded by both Planned Parenthood and the Los Angeles County, with the non-profit investing $6 million over the course of three years and the county $10 million as an initial outlay.

In detail: The services the centers will provide include pregnancy counseling, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and their treatment, as well as training programs for teens where they will learn about safe sex and relationships and become "peer advocates," reports the Washington Post.

Students would be allowed to leave class to visit the centers and make appointments. Their files will be confidential and inaccessible to school officials and their parents, as under California's laws, health care providers can't notify them without the minor's consent. The law applies to some medical services, such as birth control and mental health counseling.

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Reasons: Officials involved in the effort said the schools in question were low-income and students didn't have many options when in need of such services. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in came in response to the area's high rate of sexually transmitted diseases among people between the ages of 15 and 24.

“Our schools desperately need on-site resources to promote student mental health and wellness so that teachers can teach and students can learn. The Wellbeing Centers provide this support by harnessing resources from across the county to benefit our students and staff. They exemplify the meaningful impact of multiple agencies coming together on behalf of kids and families," County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo said.

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles' president Sue Dunlap said parents have been largely in favor of the project, but that they're expecting pushback from its critics.

“I do anticipate, as this becomes public, we will have a very normal and healthy debate around sexuality and schools and what it is to be engaged in family communication around healthy adolescence,” Dunlap said.

Opponents: Sister Paula Vandegaer, head of the Volunteers for Life, an organization that doesn't support abortion, said the project “pushes sexuality beyond where they should without reference to families.”

“I am against them being in the schools. They all have school nurses, and there’s no need for Planned Parenthood to co-opt the normal program for health in the school," she said.

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