The Condom Access Project was introduced Tuesday by the California Department of Public Health, to help kids as young as 12 order condoms online, for free and without their parents' consent.
The program will be available through TeenSource.org for California kids ages 12-19 living in areas with high STI and teen birth rates. The site also has information on free condom resources for other teens, as well as maps to facilities that conduct STI testing.
A teen can place an order on the site and receive up to ten free condoms per month, which will be delivered along with lubricant and an educational pamphlet in a nondescript package for privacy.
Critics, abstinence proponents and outraged parents say the service infringes on family privacy, but California's recent health trends are troubling. California teenage girls between the ages of 10 and 19 make up about 30 percent of all chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, and the teen live birth rate is about 3.5 percent. The national live birth rate among 15-19 year olds is 3.42 percent.
The TeenSource website's "Know Your Rights" page makes a point of letting teens know they have the right to "confidential and affordable" birth control, emergency contraception, testing and treatment for STDs, pregnancy testing, prenatal care, abortion services and mental health services.
The site also emphasizes minor consent, letting teenagers know that in California they do not need parent or guardian permission to get various services, no matter what an adult might tell them.