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Birth Control in Middle School

by Ashley Grashaw
Oct 22, 2007

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Ashley Grashaw

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This is one of those issues that makes me feel old. I'm only 23, but sex was definitely not on the menu when I was in middle school. We were more worried about how our braces made us look in pictures or whether or not we got to sit next to the "cool girl" at lunch, and the height of flirtation entailed passing a note that read, "Do you like me? Check one: Yes or No." But now, apparently, sex is something middle schools have to take seriously. Not that all 11- and 12-year-olds are having sex or getting pregnant — far from it. But enough are dabbling that some middle schools across the country have decided to make prescription birth control available to their students, the most recent of which is King Middle School in Portland, Maine. Not surprisingly, the decision has garnered heated reaction from both sides of the debate: opponents say it's a band-aid that doesn't fix the deeper, root issue of why some eleven-year-olds are having sex, while proponents argue that it's important for young kids who are sexually active to have access to protection. Tell us your opinion: has the middle school environment really changed, or has sex always lurked beneath the surface (or behind the gymnasium, as it were)? And how young is too young for birth control?

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