Maryland School District Violates Pregnant Students' Rights
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A school district in Maryland has instituted a policy of informing parents of a studentâ€™s pregnancy regardless of that studentâ€™s wishes.
A revised regulation that directs Howard County school officials to notify parents when students reveal they are pregnant has drawn criticism from health experts who say it violates a young womanâ€™s right to privacy and jeopardizes health care.
The policy and accompanying procedures appear to be among the strictest in the region.
Health experts say that studentsâ€™ willingness to seek care will decline.
â€œThereâ€™s no question this will have a chilling effect on kids coming forward,â€ said County Health Officer Peter Beilenson. â€œItâ€™s going to slow down health care.â€
Howardâ€™s policy â€œreally pushes the issue of informing the parents, when state law says minors have the right to make decisions independent of the parents,â€ said Deborah Chilcoat, an education and training specialist for Planned Parenthood of Maryland and co-chair of a county coalition on adolescent sexuality and reproductive health. â€œItâ€™s not going to be in the best interests of young people in Howard County,â€ she said.