New York City quietly launched a pilot program last year that allows a school nurse or doctor to dispense free emergency contraceptive pills and birth control pills to girls at 13 public high schools.
High schools nationwide have distributed condoms for years, but the New York City program may be one of the first to provide contraceptive pills.
The program, called CATCH, or Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Healthcare, is aimed at reducing unplanned teen pregnancy. It began in January 2011, but wasn't publicized until the New York Post reported it over the weekend.
“In any given every year there are about 7,000 pregnancies to girls ages 15 to 17 in New York City, about 90 percent of those are unintended,” said Deborah Kaplan, assistant commissioner at the city health department’s Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health.
"We wanted to make sure young people who are sexually active have easy access to contraceptive services and general reproductive health services," said Kaplan.
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