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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

OREGON: School Health Center Could Offer Birth Control


The Oregonian (Portland) (01.14.12) - Wednesday, January 18,

The Tigard-Tualatin School District has scheduled two sessions this month to hear feedback on a plan to begin offering contraceptive services at the district's health center. The sessions will be held Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. and Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Tigard High School Library, 9000 S.W. Durham Rd.

The School-Based Health Center at Tigard High already offers reproductive health services, including STD testing and treatment and pregnancy testing. The proposed changes would add prescription birth control and condoms.

The center has been open since 2008. An advisory committee recommended in 2007 that it not offer contraceptives, but it said the issue would be revisited the next year. "At the time, we wanted to start out conservatively because it was a new venture," explained Jill Zurschmeide, a member of the Tigard- Tualatin School Board. "It's an emotional issue for a lot of people, but I don't think it's sensible to ignore it any longer." Zurschmeide, who favors having birth control available to students, hopes changes will be in place by next school year. But community input will direct any service changes, she stressed. "I want to do nothing to jeopardize the community's support for the health center," she said. "We need to reflect the community." The clinic, operated by the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, has a sliding-scale payment system and is primarily self-funded, said district spokesperson Susan Stark Haydon. More than 1,300 appointments were accommodated last year.

In the 1990s, students in the district asked for condom vending machines in restrooms, but there was not enough community support to move forward with that request, said Stark Haydon.


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