Katie Hawkins, Senior Division, First Place, Stand Up for Life essay

The ongoing debate between contraceptives and Planned Parenthood has always been a dire situation, but now more so than ever. 

With the Reading Area High School considering adding a confidential Reproductive Health Center for student access to contraceptive products, as well as counseling at the expense of state taxpayers, it is time for people to stand up and address the consequences of these potentially harmful actions head on, in hopes that Planned Parenthood centers might be eradicated for good.

Adding a Reproductive Health Center to Reading High School would not help students; the center would only cause a chain reaction among the local schools, students would be more reckless, and contraceptives would not be as successful as they might seem.

A domino effect must be anticipated among other local schools if this center is to be established in Reading Area High School.

With Planned Parenthood Keystone providing services in 37 counties in the eastern portion of Pennsylvania, any ground gained for them in Reading will only spread their unfortunate popularity to the other counties in Pennsylvania (“Reading School District Postpones Sex Ed Decision.”)

Multiple students and other members of the local community express their concerns, worrying that the addition of this center would only provoke more risky behavior and a spread of acceptance to these harmful methods.

With constant access to contraceptives, students would be more reckless and would not look into the long-term consequences of their actions. This center would allow confidential access to contraceptives for students at Reading High School. Because of this, students would feel like they have the freedom to do whatever they feel like doing.

According to local Julia Coopa, this center would “set the bar too low for young people by displaying a lack of confidence in us … and discouraging us from pursuing relationships that are real and lasting versus transient things” (“Reading School District Postpones Sex Ed Decision”).

Instead of talking to students and personally thinking of solutions to these problems, they would have instituted a supposed ‘easy’ fix to this growing epidemic. Feeling completely alone and with no experienced support, students given contraceptives would make stupid mistakes that they would regret for the rest of their lives and that may also cause a drastic change in their ordinary lives.

Even if this center was added to Reading High School, statistics show that the contraceptives they would be providing to students are not as successful as originally presumed. With more students involved in risky behavior, the risk of pregnancy also rises.

According to the article “Greater Access to Contraceptives Does Not Reduce Abortions,” a study conducted in 2007 showed that a 63 percent increase in availability of contraceptives was coupled with a 103 percent increase in the rate of elective abortions. These statistics show that even though more people had access to methods that were supposed to reduce the risk of pregnancies, more women were becoming pregnant and having abortions.

Additionally, from the same source, “in the first 12 months of contraceptive use, 16.4 percent of teens will become pregnant.” Also, with a failure rate of nearly 50 percent for birth control pills and condoms, contraceptive methods are clearly not as safe and reliable as Planned Parenthood and other organizations advertise them to be.

Adding a Planned Parenthood Center to Reading High School would not help the students in any way; it would only hurt them. It would express acceptance to the use of contraceptives and other behaviors throughout the state, leading to more centers in multiple schools.

Also, with more contraceptives readily available to students, more students will participate in harmful and risky behaviors. However, these contraceptives are not as successful as these students believe they are to be, leading to more pregnancies and possible abortions. 

Because of all of this supporting evidence, I believe that Reading High School should not add a Reproductive Health Center to their school for the health and safety of not only the students but also the community and other schools in the state.

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