My local paper ran a story this weekend that may have been buried, and so I'd like to bring it to light. You may recall how the King Middle School in Portland, Maine, had instituted a program to provided contraceptives to some of its students, that was turned into a media circus by the national right-wing talk show industry. I'll remind you of the coverage provided by ejp in maine here.
As the AP reports:
For all the media firestorm surrounding the decision to make prescription contraceptives available at King Middle School, only one girl has used the service in the six months since the program began, officials say.
Last fall, administrators said they anticipated only a handful of older middle schoolers would use the service, even though it was open to all students enrolled in the clinic, including those as young as 11.
As of Thursday, the six-month anniversary of the School Committee vote that implemented the program, the only student to obtain a prescription for contraceptives was a 14-year-old girl, the city reported in response to a Freedom of Access request from the AP.
Imagine that. What should be obvious from this is that the noise machine will use anything to further its cause, and then not bother to revisit that what they combated. But be heartened by this:
Last fall, 169 out of the 500 students had permission to use the clinic. After the policy change, parents were required to re-enroll their kids. As of Thursday, there were 163 students enrolled in the clinic, said Douglas Gardner, director of the city's Health and Human Services Department.
Just six children were dropped from the program. I want to make clear that I fully support those parents that thought it necesary to withdraw their children access to the clinic, even if I don't agree with their decision. But I commend those that saw no reason to withdraw their children - kudos to them.
What is really sad - and telling - about this is that the AP provided the follow-up, not the local media that are better able to understand the nuance. Of course, the AP was likely looking for more titillation to spread, but at least they put this on the wire anyway.