Planned Parenthood is moving forward with an initiative to open 50 reproductive health clinics servicing 75,000 teenagers in Los Angeles County high schools.
The Washington Post reports that the clinics, launched in partnership with the school district and county public health department, will offer "a full range of birth control options, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy counseling."
As of yet, the clinics will not offer abortion procedures.
Due to the range of services the clinics will provide which exceeds simple medical treatment, the clinics will be called "Wellbeing Centers," Los Angeles County public health director Barbara Ferrer said.
Students will be able to visit the clinics without parents' consent
Under California law, which allows minors to consent to certain medical services, such as birth control and mental health counseling, students will be able to visit the clinics without their parents' knowledge or consent.
Also, the clinics will take walk-ins as well as scheduled appointments, and students will be allowed to miss class for them.
Information about the appointments will be placed in protected medical files and will not be accessible to schools officials.
The Los Angeles Times reported on a scenario that took place in one of the clinics at Esteban Torres High School:
A high school senior decided recently that she wants to become sexually active with her boyfriend. But she is not yet comfortable talking to her mom about birth control and would be unable to get to a doctor's appointment on her own. Instead, she walked over to the new well-being center at school during a free period. It was easy.
Though that scenario may seem like a serious cause for concern to many, County Superintendent Debra Duardo says that the clinics provide on-site resources that "our schools desperately need," according to MyNewsLA.com.
"Well-being centers provide students a safe space to receive information and resources on substance use prevention, sexual health and mental health," County Supervisor Hilda Solis added.
The program also plans to train hundreds of "peer advocates" to spread helpful information, because "teens listen to other teens," says a staffer who will oversee the training.
Just another way to sell abortions?
Pro-life groups are slamming the initiative, arguing that it is just an elaborate way of selling abortions to teenagers.
"Planned Parenthood has been targeting younger and younger girls, through their version of sex education, beginning as early as elementary school, which encourages people to make bad choices, partly because Planned Parenthood profits from crisis and from selling abortions to those same students," Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement to National Review.
"This is a marketing ploy by the nation's number one abortion vendor," Hawkins added, arguing Planned Parenthood is taking advantage of students who "won't know until it's too late that Planned Parenthood does not care about women. They care about money."
The Washington Post report records Sister Paula Vandegaer, the Los Angeles head of Volunteers for Life, saying the program "pushes sexuality" on students "without reference to families."
Five of the Planned Parenthood clinics opened at the start of the current school year, while the remainder are to be added before June 2020.