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Planned Parenthood to open reproductive health centers at 50 Los Angeles high schools

Clinics will offer birth control, STI testing and pregnancy counseling, but not abortion

Planned Parenthood is pioneering a new model of reproductive health services for Los Angeles County teens by opening 50 clinics at area high schools. The program — announced Wednesday and launched in partnership with the school district and county health department — is believed to be the most ambitious effort in the country to bring these types of services to at-risk students in public schools.

The program, funded by an initial investment of $10 million from Los Angeles County and $6 million from Planned Parenthood over three years, will offer a full range of birth control options, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy counseling, but not abortion, for an estimated 75,000 teens. The program will also train hundreds of teens to be “peer advocates” to help provide information about safe sex and relationships.

“Teens listen to other teens,” said Jennifer Rivera, 23, a Planned Parenthood staffer who will oversee the training.

Students will be able to walk into the clinics or make appointments and will be allowed to leave class for them. Information about the appointments will be in protected medical files not accessible to school officials. Under California law, minors can consent to certain medical services, such as receiving birth control or mental health counseling, and health care providers are not allowed to inform a parent without the minor’s permission.

The announcement comes as high schools and colleges have become a priority battleground for abortion rights advocates and antiabortion activists.

California has taken a leading role in pushing back against efforts by the Trump administration and conservative legislators to cut government funds for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, impose new restrictions on abortion and shift the conversation about teens and sex toward abstinence. In October, it became the first state to require its public colleges and universities to offer abortion medication under a law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

Five of the Planned Parenthood centers opened a few weeks into the school year. The rest are to be added before June. Officials involved in the project said the selected schools — in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest — were targeted because they are largely low-income and have no similar medical providers in the vicinity. Two public health officials, trained by Planned Parenthood, will be stationed full time at each school to provide education and counseling, and a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner or other medical provider will come once a week.

Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a former high school principal, said the program grew out of conversations about strategies for combating the area’s alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, among young people ages 15 to 24.

She said the clinics will be called “Wellbeing Centers” because they will do more than provide simple medical services: “We want to support their general well-being, the ups and downs of being a teen.”

In parent and community meetings before the launch, participants have been very supportive so far, said Sue Dunlap, president of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. But the organization is prepared for protest from groups that do not support its mission based on its experience working with schools in other capacities and in other areas.

“I do anticipate, as this becomes public, we will have very normal and healthy debate around sexuality and schools and what it is to be engaged in family communication around a healthy adolescence,” Dunlap said.

Planned Parenthood’s involvement in sex education has long been criticized by social conservative and religious groups. In April, Pacific Grove Middle School in California canceled a visit from Planned Parenthood educators after a mother got a Christian legal group involved. In October in Minnesota, Planned Parenthood’s support of a comprehensive sex education bill drew accusations from Students for Life, an antiabortion group, which said: “All of this is really just an opportunity for Planned Parenthood to force their way into schools and sell more abortions.”

In Los Angeles, Sister Paula Vandegaer, head of Volunteers for Life, which opposes abortion rights, said she is against the Planned Parenthood initiative because it “pushes sexuality beyond where they should without reference to families.”

“I am against them being in the schools,” she said. “They all have school nurses, and there’s no need for Planned Parenthood to co-opt the normal program for health in the school.”

National reporter

STOP THIS FROM COMING TO OUR COMMUNITY

Call 805-373-1222 and ask for our Executive Director, Teresa Menchaca

Volunteers Needed

Receptionist:

Answer phone, schedules appointments, assists clients with initial paperwork and other tasks as needed. This may include assembling charts, making copies, and appointment reminders.

Med tech/LVN:

Take vital signs, perform pregnancy tests, perform STI tests, assist RN with preparing client for Ultrasound, stock medical supplies, make copies of forms, put together charts, assist clients with filling out forms, assist with mailing out lab tests, support clients and help them feel comfortable.

Registered Nurse:

Assess client’s needs, review forms with client, teach clients (pregnancy, STI’s, fetal development), order lab tests, review lab results with client, give medication as ordered and review with the client, learn Ultrasound and perform when qualified, follow through with client’s needs and referrals, assist with monthly safety checks and report to nurse manager.

Other positions available upon request

Our Vision

Our Vision is to provide an educational curriculum that supports the mission of Ohana Health. Our approach is conservative. I hope you will stand behind us and support our efforts as we begin to research the curriculum, “HEART”.

Heart is a Sex Ed Curriculum that meets all Ed Code requirements and supports mainstream family values at a minimal cost to the school districts. The HEART Curriculum was created as a non-profit project under the direction of UnitedParents.Net and guided by a board of subject experts.

Our Programs

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Our school-based counseling program that offers prevention and intervention for our “at risk” middle schoolers. In 2019 school year we project to see 90 clients with 1,080 sessions!

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Ohana Health provides FREE health services for women, which include: Pregnancy Testing, Ultrasounds, STI Testing, and Well Woman Exams. This year we are project to aide 375 clients and facilitate 750 services!

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In conjunction with the Ventura County Drug Dependency Program (VCDDP), we’ve been providing group counseling to pregnant and new mothers who deal with substance abuse and addiction. Through this outreach, women are given a second chance to turn their lives around in lieu of being incarcerated, they can participate in our faith-based educational opportunity that includes sessions on avoiding tobacco, alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, as well as nurturing babies and child safety. This year we are projected to have 50 clients and 300 sessions!

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Ohana Health is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are a licensed medical clinic, and community service organization dedicated to providing support for women, men and families in difficult pregnancy situations. We opened in May of 1985, and have served the needs of over 25,000 women, men and families in the Conejo Valley and surrounding areas. We are supported through the donations of individuals, churches, businesses, and civic organizations. Tax ID 77-0055928

Our Commitment

Ohana Health is committed to walk alongside our clients from pregnancy through birth and the first years of their child’s life. Our life-affirming ministry also aligns our programs and services with other community resources, thus providing a wide spectrum of services for our clients.

Thank you for your generous support that allows us to provide help and hope for women and their families in our community. God bless you all.

Ohana Health | 80 E. Hillcrest DriveSuite 130Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Ohana Health


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