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School Clinic Issue

August 17, 1986

It appears that Susan Davis from the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Unified School District refuses to take "no" for an answer. In her Aug. 3 letter, she lists the three options the Board of Education had to choose from during its July 8 vote and encourages a second look at school-based clinics. I would like to respond to each option.

Thankfully three of the five board members recognized the deceit behind Davis' Options 1 and 2. (1) Voting to "move into the second phase of study" would have been a thinly veiled "yes" vote for the clinics and for everything the stacked task force wanted in them.

The same three trustees recognized that (2) "separating out the issues related to teen pregnancy" is impossible since the primary purpose of the school clinics is access to the students for contraception, abortion, referral and sex education.

Therefore John Witt, Kay Davis and Larry Lester made a knowledgeable and informed vote to (3) "kill the proposal."

Ms. Davis stated that "a vocal opposition was having difficulty separating out the issues related to teen pregnancy." Supporters of the school-based clinics also focused primarily on teen-age pregnancy at the four board hearings and at the task force hearing. Pro-clinic speakers (many of them potential clinic providers) all started out with a few token words about "comprehensive health care" and then spent the rest of their time talking about teen sex and pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood's publication, "Family Planning Perspectives" has had numerous articles devoted to the school-based clinic issue. An article in the March-April, 1985, edition is often referred to as the blueprint for school-based clinics. "Most school-based clinics began by offering comprehensive health care, then added family planning services later, at least partly, in order to avoid local controversy," the article said. "The issue of abortion is frequently finessed in these clinics." This should make it clear that, in this instance, a compromise is in reality a camouflage.

A well-documented minority report from the dissenting members of the task force proved to the satisfaction of the three trustees that the health needs of students could be adequately met by medical resources outside the school. They found no reason to waste any more time on this non-academic issue, and we thank them.


La Jolla

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