LA County Schools, Planned Parenthood Team Up To Battle Teen Pregnancy

Los Angeles County is getting serious about teen pregnancy prevention and is partnering up with Planned Parenthood to do something about it.

Through a unique collaboration between Planned Parenthood and the Los Angeles Unified School District schools like Roosevelt High School’s health clinic now offer birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling and screening for sexually transmitted diseases. The services are free and confidential and making a difference.

Birth rates among teenagers have dropped throughout California and Los Angeles County over the last several years. Statewide, the rate of births to teenagers 15 to 19 hit a record low in 2010 at 29 births for every 1,000, down from 37 in 2005. But despite the decline, there are still certain areas within the county with disproportionately higher numbers of young mothers, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The heavily Latino and low-income neighborhood around Roosevelt High School is one of them. Several other neighborhoods in East and South Los Angeles also had higher percentages of teenage births than the rest of the county.

“All areas of LAUSD are not created equal,” said Christine De Rosa, who works on adolescent health for the HIV and STD division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Rates vary according to high school attendance areas.”

The health center, which is separate from the school nurse’s office, also serves as a primary care clinic, providing physicals and administering immunizations. This school year, about half of the visits have been for reproductive health.

By law students can access the services without parental permission which means they are more likely to actually use the services. Nurse practitioner Sherry Medrano, who runs the Roosevelt health clinic, said teenagers rarely go outside their comfort zone for family planning. “They feel much safer and much more comfortable coming to a school-based health clinic,” she said.

Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles executive director, Sue Dunlap, said Latino families generally want access to information and care. “We really don’t experience the traditional narrative of angry parents not wanting access to reproductive care in the schools,” she said. “It’s really the opposite.”

What an excellent example of good public health collaboration grounded in science, community outreach, and a shared vision of social justice and uplift. Here’s hoping it can stay afloat.

Related Stories:

Big Decline In Teenage Pregnancy Rate Thanks To Contraception

Health Secretary Block Proposal To Allow Plan B On Drugstore Shelves

Are Anti-Choice Coming For Planned Parenthood’s Sex Ed Funding?

Photo from martinak via flickr.


Donna L.
Donna L5 years ago

thanks for the article!

Sophia Haythornthwaite

The answer to solving the general problem of teen pregnancy isn't abortion, but it is the most logical choice for a teenager dealing with pregnancy. Not only is pregnancy a larger physical strain on teen girls than adults, but children born to younger girls are more likely to suffer from fetal abnormalities and SIDS. Chances of childbirth-related death is twice as high for girls ages 16-19 and 5 times higher for 15 or under than adults, and that's only the physical problems with continuing a pregnancy is you're a teen.

Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley5 years ago

I think it's a good thing that's being done, but I wish it were someone besides PP doing it. cause the answer to teen pregnancy is never abortion, but I'm sure they'll be telling some teenagers it is.

Sophia Haythornthwaite

Kudos to you, DaretoCare S! Would give you a star if I could.

Sophia Haythornthwaite

Sex has consequences, but it doesn't have to. Teaching kids about the consequences and how to avoid them works far better than not. America's teen pregnancy rates have proven that. - If you think that the UK sex education is really that good. - A report made by the World Health Organization on sexual health, including why holistic sex education (What I was talking about earlier) is so important.

DaretoCare S.

"The United States ranks first among developed nations in rates of both teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In an effort to reduce these rates, the U.S. government has funded abstinence-only sex education programs for more than a decade.”
It is my opinion that one of the best definitions of stupidity, is to do the same thing over and over again, each time expecting the outcome to be different. (Usually professing shocked dismay when it isn’t) Happily, it appears that L.A. county is done doing stupid, and is now going to try something different :)
I suspect that those who are fighting so hard (as if they have some kind of personal stake in the outcome) to restrict access to the means to prevent conception, are those who wish to PUNISH girls for having sex. I find this desire to dominate and control another person’s reproductive life disturbing. The desire to “play God” with other people’s lives is reprehensible. If one believes in God, then one should have enough faith to leave it to the actual Divine to punish those who have transgressed.

DaretoCare S.

"If abstinence education results in teenagers being abstinent, teenage pregnancy and birth rates should be lower in those states that emphasize abstinence more. Other factors may also influence teenage pregnancy and birth rates, including socio-economic status, education, cultural influences [and access to contraception through Medicaid waivers and such effects must be parsed out statistically to examine the relationship between sex education and teen pregnancy and birth rates. It was the goal of this study to evaluate the current sex-education approach in the U.S., and to identify the most effective educational approach to reduce the high U.S. teen pregnancy rates. Based on a national analysis of all available state data, our results clearly show that abstinence-only education DOES NOT reduce and likely increases teen pregnancy rates. Comprehensive sex and/or STD education that includes abstinence as a desired behavior was correlated with the lowest teen pregnancy rates across states. In alignment with the Precaution Adoption Process Model advocated by the National Institutes of Health we suggest that comprehensive sex and HIV/STD education should be taught as part of the biology curriculum in middle and high school science classes, along with a social studies curriculum that addresses risk-aversion behaviors and planning for the future."

Brad B.
Brad B5 years ago

Iona - Thank you for bringing some reality to this discussion.

I'm all for abstinence as I believe this to be the best teaching. The problem I've seen in this area is that with a lot of parents who believe this (not myself) is pretty much avoided as a topic of discussion, thus creating a serious problem.

And for organizations like Planned Parenthood, and the things Iona spoke of where sex is just condoned but consequence is really totally left out of the picture you get the exact same issue. Rampant sex and teenage pregnancy.

Why? Because avoiding the topic doesn't help anything, while condoning the behavior and more or less giving them everything to do what they want willy nilly isn't helping either. Both are causing teen's to pretty much lose their minds.

I believe Planned Parenthood needs left out of this equation. Its a sex hungry organization with one goal in mind: to make sure people can have sex w/o consequences. Period. Secondly, I believe parents need to step up...teach abstinence, but do not shy away from the topics of sex. Teen's need to know what's going on with their bodies (from their parents...not school)...and they need to know that sex before marriage leads to nothing but heartache. They need to have an open forum w/ their parents to discuss these things. but parents can't be best buddies...they are first and foremost parents. There is a balance in there, and it doesn't include Planned parenthood.

Iona S.
Iona S.5 years ago

"What an excellent example of good public health collaboration grounded in science, community outreach, and a shared vision of social justice and uplift."

But one thing it's not grounded in is evidence.

Here in the UK we have explicit sex education in schools, school nurses regularly available for teenagers to consult with regard to sex, contraception and abortion, and to hand out the "morning after pill" in total privacy without parental knowledge or consent, free of charge, - and yet we still have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and teenage abortion in Europe.

Clearly there are some other factors at work, beyond ignorance and lack of availability.

Luis O.
Luis O.5 years ago

Is this not a back door attempt to force taxpayers to support a controversial, and to some is highly immoral organization? Why PP? Why couldn't LAUSD find a better way instead of this polarizing move? Something stinks about this ...