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Plan for School-based Health Clinic Offering Reproductive Health Services Derailed

 Hopkins, MN
A proposed school-based health clinic at Hopkins High School would have been the first suburban clinic in the state to offer contraception, STD testing, and other reproductive health services. Plans for the clinic have been indefinitely postponed, however, as a result of opposition from a small number of residents many of whom live outside of the school district.
District staff proposed opening the clinic after the results of the 2007 Minnesota Student Survey revealed that, for the first time, at least half of the high school’s seniors were sexually active.[1] Some students are able to access reproductive healthcare at the West Suburban Teen Clinic which is located 10 miles away in Excelsior. Staff proposed opening a school-based clinic as a satellite of the West Suburban Teen Clinic in an effort to reach more of the Hopkins High student population.
Opposition to the clinic emerged during school board meetings over the summer. Seven people, five of whom live outside the district, argued that the clinic would undermine the rights of parents and increase student sexual activity. One speaker, a retired pediatrician, punctuated his comments with the remark: “In life, we ought to expect the best and we ought to promote the ideal—one partner for life.”[2]
Others supported the clinic. One parent said she was proud of the district for tackling the controversial idea of a school-based health clinic.[3] She also pointed out that many of those who voiced opposition were not district residents and argued that they are disproportionately influencing the school board.  
The Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting (MOAPPP) also supported the clinic. Its spokesperson cited research that shows that providing young people with access to contraception does not increase sexual activity.[4]
After hearing the testimony at the school board meeting, the district superintendent decided to pull the proposal on the grounds that he didn’t believe the board had enough information to make an informed decision. Although it’s unclear when the school board will discuss the clinic again, the school’s special services director is committed to continuing to explore the issue.

[1] Aimee Blanchette, “Hopkins High won't open teen clinic,” Star Tribune, 17 September 2008, accessed 14 October 2008 <>
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

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