Groups Push Fight to Reverse Middle School Birth Control Policy

Conservatives and parents in Maine are not giving up the fight against allowing a middle school to give contraception to its students without parental consent.

Last week, the Legislative Council voted 5-4 along party lines to block a bill that would require parental notification and consent before King Middle School could provide prescription birth control to children 14 or younger.

According to Charla Bansley, state director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Maine, the Democrats voted against the measure saying there wasn't enough time during their short legislative session.

"Enough is enough," said Bansley in a CWA broadcast Thursday. "We have been neglecting kids because of our selfish agenda for long enough."

"We don't have enough time for them at conception, so we abort. We don't have enough time to discipline, so we medicate. We don't have enough time to teach values, so we hand out birth control pills," Bansley said in frustration.

"Children are our greatest treasure and there is nothing more worthy of our time," she added.

The bill requiring parental consent was introduced by Republican Sen. Doug Smith of Dover-Foxcroft after the Portland School Committee allowed King Middle School to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. The approval was made last October.

While students are required to receive parental permission to be admitted to the school health clinic, any care students would receive, including being prescribed birth control, is confidential. Students at the school are between the ages of 11 and 15.

"This is a fundamental right we are talking about here," Smith said last week after his bill was blocked. "This is a parental right to control the prescription drugs their children are taking. The Democratic majority today felt that the state should have the right to intercede in that, and that is an unfortunate decision."

Christian groups and parents have spoken out in disgust over the school's new policy and its "usurpation of parental responsibility to protect the health and morality of their children," as Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice put it.

Despite last week's setback, efforts are continuing to reverse the committee's decision.