Vermont just became the first state in the nation to give access to free condoms in grades 7-12. “Schools don’t have to pay for the condoms, they are provided by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England,” WCAX reported.

The Vermont statute reads: “In order to prevent or reduce unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, each school district shall make condoms available to all students in its secondary schools, free of charge. School district administrative teams, in consultation with school district nursing staff, shall determine the best manner in which to make condoms available to students. At a minimum, condoms shall be placed in locations that are safe and readily accessible to students, including the school nurse’s office.”

In October, the Vermont Agency of Education issued guidance which stated:

The Agency of Education, in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Health and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE), has collected background information, identified steps for SUs/SDs and schools to implement condom availability in their schools, and created a template for schools to use when developing condom availability procedures.

Executive Director Mary Beerworth of the Vermont Right to Life Committee had protested the action in June, asserting, “Parents have no idea that bowls of condoms are going to be placed potentially in the nurse’s office and potentially in the bathroom. We’re concerned it’s a subtle endorsement of early sexual activity,” as ABC News10reported. She told NBC’s “Today Health” that teenagers “don’t even always remember to brush their teeth without parents reminding them. A lot of young girls I know who had abortions under age 18, just forgot to take the pill.” She was concerned that young women would end up in “a situation where one of their alternatives is abortion.”

Sharon Toborg, policy analyst for the Vermont Right to Life Committee, had commented on the proposed legislation:

Parental rights and responsibilities are defined as those “rights and responsibilities related to a child’s physical living arrangements, parent child contact, education, medical and dental care, religion, travel, and any other matter involving a child’s welfare and upbringing.”

Yet parents’ rights continue to be denied by those who provide abortions and contraceptives to children without parental knowledge. Currently, in my local school district, the Barre Unified Union School District, condoms are available to students in grades 7 – 12, but parents can opt their children out. H.663 would deny parents this right. Our Legislature and our schools should respect parents’ rights, not eliminate them.

She told Vermont Public Radio. “But the reality is that when you encourage sexual activity among young kids, and treat it as normal and acceptable for 12-year-olds to be engaging in sexual activity, you are creating an atmosphere that will lead to more sexual activity and more unintended pregnancies.”

Some respondents’ comments on the NBC5 Facebook page: “Thank god my children go to private school. Public schools have no decency, no values, and no principles. Just disgusting.”  “How about teaching students not to have sexual intercourse until they are responsible enough to be self-sufficient and a parent. It’s called ‘abstinence!’”

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