(CNSNews.com) – The New York City Health Department’s NYC teen website now includes an app that teens can download to their smart phones to get information on “sexual health,” including where they can get birth control and abortions.
The app, under the heading “Important Links and Info,” has three main links – Where to Go; sexual health services, What to Get; condoms and birth control; and What to Expect; at the clinic.
Under the health services link the user can choose what service they want, including Gold Star clinics (those that offer free birth control and other services), emergency contraceptive or Plan B, and abortion.
If the user picks abortion, they can then choose the area in the city where they want to find services. If the user picks Manhattan, for example, they will be directed to three places that perform abortions – Family Planning Clinic, Harlem Hospital; Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger Center; and Project Stay – Services to Assist Youth at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Under the “info” tab on the app, teens are told that New York state does not have parental consent law when it comes to getting sexual health services.
“Remember, teens in New York State have the right to sexual health services without getting permission from parents, girlfriends/boyfriends or anyone else,” the app says.
The app also provides a link to the NYC Teen website, which reminds teens about the lack of parental consent law in various formats, including a video called “Samantha’s Story,” found on the “Dating and Friends” section of the website.
The seven-minute video is narrated by a teen called Samantha, who talks about having sex with her boyfriend of five months and her sexual desires toward her best friend.
After saying how much she likes Richie, Samantha discusses missing her friend Alisha.
“The thing is, I’m starting to miss Alisha,” Samantha says. “A lot.
“She’s always on my mind,” Samantha says. “I think about her, you know, that way.
“She’s pretty,” Samantha says. “Actually, she’s hot.
“I can’t stop noticing it, I mean, I like sex with Richie but sometimes I can’t stop thinking about how beautiful Alisha is or how much I want to kiss her or go even further,” Samantha says. “So I guess I like girls too.”
Then Samantha shares her experience about going to an “LGBT-friendly” clinic in her neighborhood where she met with a counselor.
“She said that feelings like that are totally normal,” Samantha says in the video. “And it’s OK to talk about them.
“She said that no matter who I have sex with it’s important that the person I choose makes me happy and respects me by waiting until I’m ready,” Samantha said of the counselor, who is shown wearing a rainbow pin with the word “Ally” on it.
Samantha also meets with a doctor who gives her birth control pills.
“I took my first one right there in the office,” Samantha says.
The teen that plays Samantha in the video encourages teens to download the app and to remember they are in control.
“If you are a teenager in New York City there are places you can go for free, confidential sexual health services,” the teen says. “It’s easy to find somewhere to go and you don’t need permission from anyone to get services.”
The NYC Teen website is run by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Inquiries to the department from CNSNews.com about sources of funding for the website and the app, including whether any federal funds were used, were not answered.