It has been one year since a Time magazine cover story on teenage pregnancy proclaimed that “the sexual revolution had moved from the college campus to the high school and junior high.” Since Time’s in-depth analysis, the problem of pregnancy among adolescents has become an issue of major public concern—and debate. There is little consensus on how to combat this “new epidemic,” with proposed solutions ranging from encouraging chastity to advocating contraceptives and abortion.

School-Based Clinics

Much of the debate over teenage pregnancy revolves around school-based health clinics (CT, March 7, 1986, p. 42). Along with providing first aid, nutrition counseling, immunizations, and physical examinations, these clinics offer family-planning services to students.

Supporters of such clinics point to a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study conducted in the Baltimore school system where an experimental pregnancy-prevention program was made available. According to the researchers involved, the study showed a dramatic decrease in pregnancies. Researcher Laurie Schwab Zabin was quoted in Children & Teens Today Newsletter: “There has been a fear voiced in some quarters that exposing young people to programs that openly discuss sexual behavior, and that provide them with contraception, will increase or hasten sexual activity. This study should, once and for all, discredit such claims.” Zabin added that services offered by school-based clinics help sexually active youth guard against pregnancy, and provide sex-education materials that benefit nonsexually active youth who wish to say no to sex.

The Washington, D.C.—based Family Research Council prepared a response to the Johns Hopkins ...

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