New York City’s Department of Education has been providing birth control (such as the long-lasting shot Depo-Provera), Plan B/emergency contraception, and “all pregnancy options” to thousands of high school students in grades 9-12, without parental consent or notification through the Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health (CATCH) program.
The CATCH program was launched in 2011 during an unpublicized pilot in thirteen city schools. During that year the New York Post reported, in just five schools, 567 students received Plan B tablets and 580 students received Reclipsen birth-control pills according to NYC’s Department of Health. The schools also provide condoms and pregnancy testing. But the city failed to mention the almost 40 separate “school-based health centers” which gave out 12,721 doses of Plan B in 2011-12, up from 10,720 in 2010-11 and 5,039 in 2009-10.
The Post obtained the report under a Freedom of Information Law request.
“Besides “emergency contraception,” about 40 school-based clinics have dispensed prescriptions for birth-control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormone-delivering injections, and Patch and NuvaRing — covering a total 93,569 monthly cycles through June 2012, the report says. Handouts of birth-control packets rose from 6,027 in 2009-10 to 10,462 last year. Depo-Provera injections rose from 1,213 to 2,117. Staffers also insert plastic IUDs in the uterus, where they can remain for years.”
Of course, officials refused to discuss the project.
During the pilot phase, The Chiaroscuro Foundation released poll data showing 53 percent of New York City parents opposed the controversial program.
We reached out to New York’s Department of Health to see how many students received birth control, the morning-after pill, and two different medications referred to as the “abortion pill”: mifepristone and misoprostol. We have yet to receive a response, but if the numbers from the pilot remained consistent we are looking at well over 15,000 students receiving Plan B, and over 16,000 receiving birth control pills without parental notification. Despite other data showing a majority of parents opposed the program, health officials say only one to two percent of parents in those schools chose to opt out of the program.
In 2020, According to Stuyvesant High School, additional services are being offered: “CATCH program returns to Stuyvesant with added services.” What else could possibly be offered other than the abortion pill or performing the abortion pill? We decided to investigate by using the QR code from a flyer at Forest Hills High School in Queens. Scanning the code led us to a text message with presumably, the program director.
Read More: NYC schools supply students Plan B and more