Denver, Colo. - Community reaction is predictably mixed as a new school year begins with free birth control products available to students at a Colorado public school.
6th through 12th graders at Denver's Bruce Randolph School will be able to get condoms, birth control pills and emergency contraceptives for free, provided their parents opted into services at a school-based clinic run by a Denver hospital.
A group of parents pushed for the birth control program. 13 Bruce Randolph students gave birth to babies over the past two years.
Jennifer Gonzalez was a part of that group and has a son at the school. She says opponents need to make sure they don't have misconceptions about the program.
"It's not like it's a box of condoms that's set out in the hallway for a free for all," Gonzalez says. "These kids go in, they ask for it, and they are
She says the program helps her feel better about what might happen if her son found himself in a tough spot.
"If the only thing keeping my son from protecting himself is the embarrassment of asking me, or the ability to get to the clinic where it's
offered for free, then I'd much rather him be able to walk into the school-based clinic and ask for it."
There is opposition to the program. Bob Enyart with Colorado Right to Life calls it a "tragedy of parenting and schooling," and advocates abstinence-only education.
"The young girls are their own first line of defense," Enyart says.
The school's principal says the goal for the program is to break the cycle of poverty by cutting down on the number of teenage moms. Colorado Right to Life says it expects the number of pregnancies to go up.
Several other schools in Colorado offer some form of birth control to their students, but Bruce Randolph is the first in Denver.
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