School Based Clinics: Part One

October 25, 1999

Each year more and more schools establish school based health clinics to deal with rising teen pregnancy. Schools mistakenly believe that providing teens with greater access to birth control information and devices will help deal with the problem. But study after study shows that these clinics are not as effective as proponents might like to think they are.

Proponents of these clinics cite studies that supposedly demonstrate the effectiveness of these clinics on teen sexual behavior. Yet a more careful evaluation of the statistics involved suggests that school-based health clinics do not lower the teen pregnancy rate.

One example is the national attention given to DuSable High School. School administrators were rightly alarmed that before the establishment of a school-based health clinic, three hundred of their one thousand female students became pregnant. After the clinic was opened, the media widely reported that the number of pregnant students dropped to 35.

However, as more facts came to light, the claims seemed to be embellished. School officials admitted that they kept no records of the number of pregnancies before the operation of the clinic and that three hundred was merely an estimate. Moreover, school officials could not produce statistics for the number of abortions the girls received as a result of the clinic.

Now this is just one of many cases cited, but I think you can see that it doesn't make the case for school based health clinics. Tomorrow, I'll talk about another famous case at Mechanics Arts High School in St. Paul, Minnesota which doesn't make the case either.

And that's the point. Each year more schools become convinced that the only way to stem the tide of teen pregnancy is to implement comprehensive sex education and establish school based health clinics. Yet the best evidence doesn't show that they work.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.