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Program Allows Local Teens To Receive Free Condoms By Mail

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With teen birth and STDs still at alarming rates, health advocates say one of the best ways to protect teens is by offering protection through the mail.

The controversial new program to send teens ages 12-19 free condoms through the mail has both supporters and opponents

“Either they get it through the mail or I buy it for them,” one mother told CBS13.

“It’s a horrible idea,” said an male opponent. “They’ll do it all the time.”

Though the topic brings out strong feelings on both sides, the Condom Access Project say it’s about protecting teens from STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and it has the support of state health officials.

“If you’re going to do it, make sure you’re protected, make sure nothing happens to you,” parent Tony Pruitt said.

But critics fault the program, available in five counties including Sacramento and San Joaquin, for making teens think it’s OK to have sex.

Not only can they order free condoms from program website teensource.org, but they can get lubrication too, a product viewed more for pleasure than protection.

“Oh no, I do not agree with it,” mother Sharon Tillery said. “I think that’s like saying it’s OK for them to do that.”

But the California Health Council says studies show that access to birth control does not encourage teens to have sex.

Even though they don’t like the idea of their teens getting condoms in the mail, some parents say it’s an uncomfortable compromise they’re willing to make for safety.

“I mean we have to be real with our teenagers now and we have to communicate with them,” a mother said.

“As grandparents of two teens that live with us I have to be honest with you I don’t like it but I would rather see them have it than not,” Sherry Pruitt said.

Teens are allowed one order of 10 condoms a month. The program is being paid for with federal funds.

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