Ken Connor

The school board in Portland, Maine, has decided that a health clinic at King Middle School will dispense birth-control pills to students without informing their parents. It already dispenses condoms to students who typically range in age from 11 to 14. All that's required is that the students undergo a checkup and get some counseling.

I don't know about you, but I would wring the neck of any so-called health care professional that gave my middle-schooler birth control without my knowledge or consent. Who does Dr. Quackers think he is deciding what's best for my child? Last time I checked, he wasn't there when my child was up all night worrying about monsters in the closet, or agonizing over whether to wear the red or the blue dress to school, or dealing with the pain of rejection from the "in crowd." I don't recall him paying the bills for dance lessons, music lessons or the orthodontist. I didn't see him at my child's first ball game or ballet debut.

There is a word for the adults who bear the responsibility of making decisions for their minor children. It's spelled p-a-r-e-n-t-s. Parents are the ones charged with the responsibility of making important, life-altering decisions for their offspring who, because of their youth or immaturity, are not yet qualified to make those decisions for themselves. Parents, along with their kids, are the ones who live with the consequences of those decisions. The doctors don't. The nurses don't. And the members of the school board darn sure don't! And all the Ph.D.'s, M.D.'s, and R.N. degrees in the world will not qualify them to substitute their judgment for that of the people who gave birth to, and sacrificed for, their children. Parents are the people who know their children best and love them most. They are the ones with the God-given right and responsibility to make important health care decisions for their children and to counsel them about sensitive issues like sexual activity and birth control.

I know that there are some parents who aren't fit or who abdicate their parental responsibilities. In such instances it may be necessary for the state to intervene in loco parentis. But that's not what is going on at King Middle School. The educrats on the school board made a blanket decision that affects all the parents and all the children at that school.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.