Under increasing pressure across the nation and from the Trump administration, Planned Parenthood is maneuvering into the friendly environment of public schools.
The group is launching a new kind of “reproductive health service” for Los Angeles County teenagers by opening 50 clinics at area high schools, according to the Washington Post. The effort was announced Dec. 11 in partnership with the school district and county health department, and is believed to be the most ambitious effort in the country for public school students.
Funded to the tune of $10 million by Los Angeles County and $6 million by Planned Parenthood over three years, the program will offer a full range of birth control options, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. It will offer pregnancy counseling – but not abortion – for an estimated 75,000 teens. The program will also train hundreds of teens to be “peer advocates” for safe sex and relationships.
“Teens listen to other teens,” said Jennifer Rivera, 23, a Planned Parenthood staffer in charge of training.
Students will be able to leave class for their appointments at the clinic. Information about appointments will be in secure files not accessible to school officials. Under California law, minors can consent to medical services like receiving birth control or counseling, and health care providers are barred from informing parents without the minor’s permission.
The announcement comes as high schools and colleges have become a battleground over abortion, and as California takes a leading role in pushing back against efforts by the Trump administration and legislators to cut government funds for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, restrict abortion and shift the conversation about teen sex toward abstinence.