MONDAY, Feb. 21, 2012 (everydayhealth.com) — A new California program that helps teens have safe sex is outraging parents who think the initiative is only giving their children a free pass to do the deed.
The Condom Access Project run by TeenSource.org, a division of the non-profit California Family Health Council, launched on Valentine’s Day during National Condom Week. The program promises a mailing of 10 condoms, lubricant, and a health brochure to teens who ask for it. The free package even arrives in a discreet envelope.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40 percent of teens between 15 and 19 years old have had sex. Nearly half of women and 88.5 percent of men reported using a condom every time they had sex in the previous month, the same survey of teens reported.
TeenSource says the program is an alternative to buying expensive condoms in a drug store or picking them up at a clinic, both of which may be embarrassing for some teens.
Opponents of the program, however, say helping teens score free birth control is just encouraging them to score. "I would think the overwhelming majority of parents in Kern County wouldn't think this is a good idea," Linda Davis, executive director of the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center, which promotes abstinence, told The Bakersfield Californian. "And I don't think their kids would have the nerve to request them."
Those behind the program, however, insist the program is necessary for promoting safe sex among teens. "We can't keep our heads in the sand and pretend there isn't a problem," said Amy Moy, vice president of public affairs for the Family Health Council. "We know teens are engaging and we want to make sure they're as safe as possible."