Westchester School Board OKs Pregnancy Tests

Students in one suburban New York community may soon be able to get tested for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases at school health centers.
The school board in the Westchester County village of Port Chester approved a measure to add pregnancy and STD tests to the services available at the clinics. The clinics are in elementary, middle and high schools.

Board members said the measure was proposed because many girls only found out they were pregnant when they were tested prior to routine vaccinations, according to The Journal News.

Initially, the proposal would have permitted Open Door Family Medical Centers, which operates the clinics, to conduct pap smears and give students the morning-after pill, but that part of the proposal was rejected.
Students who test positive for pregnancy or infection will be offered counseling and referred for medical care.

Board member Jim Dreves thinks it's about time the school be able to offer such tests to students.

"If a kid comes in and says, 'I think I have a problem,' to be able to do the test is important," Dreves told The Journal News.

The only person to vote against the proposal was Board President Anne Capeci, who said it could become a sticky situation because girls could find out they're pregnant but the school couldn't compel them to tell their parents.

Some parents said the tests were a great idea because students could get help even if they didn't feel comfortable talking to their parents about it. Others, however, thought it could encourage students to behave recklessly if they know the situation would be handled at school and their parents wouldn't find out.

Last year, 19 -- or 3.6 percent -- of the 525 girls at Port Chester High School were either pregnant or parenting, according to The Journal News.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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