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School Clinics

May 18, 1986

This letter is in response to the San Diego Board of Education's decision to create a task force to study the establishment of a campus-based health care service in the public schools. Consider the following salient points:

- The delivery of health care services is not the responsibility of the school system.

- Two-thirds of the speakers heard by the board members opposed the campus-based clinics.

- Services that the health centers would provide are already available free of charge to needy students.

Why, then, the duplication of existing community services? It is quite significant, we think, that Planned Parenthood is one of the principal advocates of these clinics, and without a doubt the proposed health centers would operate with a Planned Parenthood-like philosophy.

The Planned Parenthood philosophy denies any moral or ethical component to sexual activity. It would say, for example, that the decision to have sexual relations is on the same moral level as the decision whether to eat dessert. It sounds wonderful, but it ignores the fact that the consequences of those two decisions are far different. One is not normally exposed to venereal disease, nor to the potential creation of human life, nor to profound interpersonal emotional involvement when one sits down to a piece of chocolate cake.

Human sexual activity has far-reaching consequences that the Planned Parenthood philosophy ignores or attempts to gloss over. This philosophy discourages and even ridicules adolescent sexual restraint and encourages sexual promiscuity. The increased promiscuity leads directly to increased incidence of venereal disease and increased adolescent pregnancy.

The answer to the problems of the rising incidence of venereal disease and adolescent pregnancy is not to promote promiscuity by passing out contraceptives and then to try and patch up the "mistakes" by counseling abortion. The answer, rather, lies at the source: to teach our young people disciplined sexual restraint with such programs as "Teen-Aid," now being tested at San Marcos High School. The San Diego Board of Education should not settle for short-sighted and expedient solutions to serious social problems.

JEAN M. O'DONNELL, M.D.

THEODORE F. O'DONNELL, M.D.

Fallbrook

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