I was disappointed to see the misleading and inflammatory articles in several local newspapers on our board's recent vote on birth control in the School Based Health Centers (SBHCs.). I would like to clarify a few facts about the issue:
- The majority of speakers on both sides of the issue were female. So claiming this as a male vs female issue, based on the coincidental demographics of the board members, is simply unjustified.
- The board entered the Tuesday meeting fully prepared to accept a compromise proposal that allows birth control prescriptions at SBHCs, with parent/guardian notification. This compromise was accepted 6-1 at our previous meeting.
- It was the SBHC staff & board liberals who absolutely refused to accept any form of notification. Stepping back from the previous compromise, they proposed replacing it with "best effort" language, which would be completely non-binding, as stated explicitly at our April work session.
- It is NOT a violation of Oregon law to require parent notification at an SBHC We consulted with the district lawyer before proposing this, and Director Milller explained the legal reasoning in detail at the meeting. Since they are on school grounds, the rules are somewhat different than independent medical clinics.
- The vote had nothing to do with religion. I would challenge any reader to review the meeting recordings, available on the district website at http://hsd.k12.or.us, and still claim that this was somehow a religious debate. If you're curious about the (non-religious) reasons why I think parent notification is very important, they are detailed in my blog at http://tinyurl.com/hsd-sbhc-2016 .
- The final vote to not add birth control services did not "take away" any rights, but merely preserved the current policy. When the sbhc was created, there was a direct promise made by the district that it would not distribute birth control. Due to significant community concern, it would never have opened at all without this policy. As I see it, there is a high bar for breaking or modifying such a promise to the community.
If you strongly disagree with our vote on this topic, feel free to stop by one of my monthly Constituent Coffees (first Saturday, 10-11am, Human Bean on 10th in Hillsboro) and I'll be happy to chat in more detail. But please consider the above points before sending more expletive-laden insults and personal threats.