Seattle School Gives Girls IUDs, But Junk Food Is Banned

| by Michael Allen
Chief Sealth International. Chief Sealth International.

A public school in Seattle, Washington, is providing IUDs and hormonal implants to teen girls, but soda is not allowed.

Seattle’s public health department supports IUDs and Nexplanon implants being available in school clinics.

Thanks to a Washington State Medicaid program, Take Charge, girls who are under 19 years old can get birth control for free and without their parents knowing.

Katie Acker, who works for Neighborcare, which dispenses birth control to teens in six schools, told Grist how girls come to the school clinic to get their IUDs and implants, sometimes accompanied by their friends.

Of the three female students who was interviewed by Grist about getting their birth control at the school clinic, only one has told her mother.

Acker added:

"It’s absolutely amazing and crazy. The birth control culture, for lack of a better term, and the conversations have just changed so much. Even for me, starting in September of 2013 to now, seeing the change — conversations are just happening so openly and so excitedly. There’s so much pride around, 'I’ve got this method, I’ve got this method.' It’s not a hush-hush thing anymore … So many students will come in and say, 'Oh, my friend got the IUD, can I make an appointment?'"

While birth control is easier than ever for teens to get, the Seattle School Board banned junk food, including soda, from its schools in 2004.

The Seattle Times reported in 2011 the school board was considering relaxing that ban because of the money lost by student governments from school vending machines.

It's not clear if that effort was successful, but TheBlaze noted in 2014, "The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snacks in School initiative goes into effect July 1. With the rule, all vending machines, a la carte lunch items and even baked goods sold for fundraisers are banned from schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, making these programs adhere to amendments to the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act."

Sources: Grist, The Seattle Times, TheBlaze
Image Credit: Architectsea