Guest Editorial: Open Letter from the New York City Parents' Choice Coalition: Demand an end to presumptive opt-in for the controversial DOE CATCH program
(Editor's Note: Given the severity of this issue and that this is the first program of its kind in the country, the staff at BMORENEWS agrees that unless a stand is made in New York - this will be at our front door ... by dinner.)
(NEW YORK, NY - September 27, 2012) - Dear Friend: Members of the New York City Parents' Choice Coalition, an organization comprised of more than a dozen New York City parent and religious organizations, gathered on the steps of City Hall today to demand an end to presumptive opt-in for the controversial DOE CATCH program which provides Plan B and hormonal contraceptives to kids without so much as notifying their parents.
Joined by State Senator Reuben Diaz, former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, NYC Parent’s Union President Mona Davids, and others, the group renewed its call for an optional abstinence centered sexual risk avoidance program to be offered in the schools.
"Chancellor Walcott promises greater parental engagement yet he goes ahead with CATCH. It's absurd for Walcott to have relied on students taking information letters and ‘opt-out’ forms home,” said Michael Benjamin, former Assemblyman and executive director of the NYC Parents’ Choice Coalition. “DOE obtains consent for field trips—no one asks parents to 'opt-out' of a field trip to the Bronx Zoo or the local firehouse— so why not ask for their consent to provide emergency contraceptives to adolescent minor children? They don't because Mayor Bloomberg has an ideological agenda he is pursuing."
The group also released an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott in opposition to the program on their website, NYCparentschoice.org, and is inviting parents around the city to sign on.
“Proponents of the CATCH program claim that emergency contraception and birth control are a logical progression in being responsive to the reproductive health of young women, yet studies suggest that this could NOT be farther from the truth,” said Dr. Nanci Coppola, executive director of Program Reach which runs abstinence programs in the region. “EC has not been proven to reduce teen pregnancy, yet there is evidence to support the fact that the increased availability of emergency contraception causes at least some adolescents to increase their level of risk taking behavior. This increase in risk taking behavior puts adolescents at greater risk for sexually transmitted infections and disease which can permanently damage their reproductive organs, leading to infertility and sterility. I challenge the DOE and DOH to explain how this is in the best interest of our children’s health.”
Edward Mechmann of the Archdiocese of New York also referenced a joint statement by Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn. “Parents have the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children,” the bishops said. “This plan usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents. It also places minors at risk, because no school system can be expected to know all the pertinent health information about their son or daughter, and be able to properly judge what is in their best interests.”
“The Department of Education has effectively outlawed Plan A in the NYC schools by refusing to allow medically accurate, evidence based sexual risk avoidance curricula in the schools, even as an option for parents who want it,” said Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation. “It is outrageous that the soft bigotry of low expectations has the DOE leading with Plan B. Don’t our young people deserve better?”
We'll keep you informed about the coalition's efforts.
What do you think?
2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
The NYC school system may have gone about this issue the wrong way, but until NYC parents (all parents everywhere) have real discussions about sex and the consequences of unprotected sex, every child born to a teenager, destroys two lives, the life of the young unwed mother and the life of the child who will be born, in most cases, into a life of poverty with limited opportunity. Parents were notified. It was only when those parents who threw the information away, brought home by their children, learned of this did they become outraged. Teenage pregnancy is still a problem in this country, especially in the innercities across this country. While we cannot blame the child born of unprotected sex who will be a financial burden, we must, as a country do something about a financial burden that will last until the child is an adult. The NYC parents were perceived to be incapable of acting to prevent their daughers from becoming pregnant, so the city acted. It is right? It is too soon to tell. Let's wait to see how the rate of teen pregnancy drops and teen abortion decreases, or if they rise. And let's see what the parents do other that show indignation and outrage now that the issue has been made public! Maybe this is one time the school system knows something that the parents don't: Teenagers are having sex, unprotected sex!
wow, Mr. Moorer? I bet you wouldn't be so liberal if it were your daughter being fed pills without your knowledge. Your argument is ridiculous. You have said nothing about the targeting of poor black and poor Latino - a practice which actually began in 100 years ago in NYC. Wait? You must be intoxicated if you think I'm going to wait for liberals like you to take over my house. The logic that giving a child a pill - without knowing their medical history - enrolled by default - without consent - without legal responsibility .... is criminal at best. You don't speak for me, Mr. Moorer. Not one iota.