Planned Parenthood has set up shop in L.A.'s Roosevelt High School to provide birth control and other health services to students.
The United States' leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood, and the L.A. Unified School District, are providing Roosevelt with the nation's first on-campus health clinic. Here students can receive birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) counseling and screening, and pregnancy tests.
All services are free and confidential. This is the only partnership of its kind in the United States.
While the overall rate of teen pregnancy has dropped in L.A. over the last few years, some areas, such as the low income neighbourhood surrounding Roosevelt, still have disproportionately high numbers. The collaboration with Planned Parenthood aims to reduce unplanned pregnancy rates at the school.
The partnership was spearheaded in 2008 by Roosevelt's nurse practitioner Sherry Medrano, after she saw 32 positive pregnancy test results at the school between March and June of that year. Medrano, who runs the health clinic, saw only three pregnancies during the same time period the following year.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times:
Medrano... said teenagers rarely go outside their comfort zone for family planning. By law, students can go to Medrano and her staff without the permission of their parents. "They feel much safer and much more comfortable coming to a school-based health clinic," she said.
The clinic also provides primary health care to students but about half the visits have been for reproductive health. As part of the program, Planned Parenthood also trains students to act as advocates, educating their peers about STIs and pregnancy prevention.
Parents are generally supportive of the program and there have been few complaints.
The project is funded by Family PACT, a family planning program for uninsured and low income residents of L.A.