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NYC schools offer birth control options

Sept. 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A program at New York City high schools offering students different forms of birth control has met little resistance from parents, officials said.

The pilot program -- called the Catch program, or Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare -- has been started in 14 New York City high schools since January 2011, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Through the program, students have access to condoms, birth control pills and the emergency contraceptive Plan B, without the knowledge of their parents.

Parents at the 14 schools were sent letters informing them about CATCH and had the option of signing and returning an opt-out statement, The New York Times reported.

Only one or two percent of parents returned the opt-out form, health department officials said.

In the 2011-12 school year, some 567 students received emergency contraception and 580 received the birth-control pill Reclipsen through the city program, officials said.

"In New York City, over 7,000 young women become pregnant by age 17 -- 90 percent of which are unplanned," Alexandra Waldhorn, a health department spokeswoman, said. "We are committed to trying new approaches, like this pilot program in place since January 2011, to improve a situation that can have lifelong consequences."

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