PEEK

Maryland School District Violates Pregnant Students' Rights

Informing parents of a student's pregnancy is bad policy for pregnant women and for families -- but it's standard anti-choice politicking.
A school district in Maryland has instituted a policy of informing parents of a student’s pregnancy regardless of that student’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 woman’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 students’ willingness to seek care will decline.
“There’s no question this will have a chilling effect on kids coming forward,” said County Health Officer Peter Beilenson. “It’s going to slow down health care.”
Howard’s policy “really pushes the issue of informing the parents, when state law says minors have the right to make decisions independent of the parents,” 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. “It’s not going to be in the best interests of young people in Howard County,” she said.
Cara Kulwicki is the founder of The Curvature, where she blogs daily about a wide range of feminist issues.
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