(CBS News) NEW YORK - New York City's Department of Education has begun offering "morning after" contraceptive pills to students in a pilot program at 13 of the city's high schools.
CBS Station WCBS reports that, in an effort to combat teen pregnancy, school nurse offices have been stocked with Plan B emergency contraception.
The pills are being made available under a new school program known as CATCH (Connecting Adolescents To Comprehensive Health), which is aimed at stemming teen pregnancy.
This is the first time the city's public schools have dispensed hormonal birth control and Plan B, and it may be a first nationwide, according to the New York Post.
According to the city's data, more than 7,000 residents get pregnant by the time they are 17 years old. More than half of those pregnancies are aborted, the Department of Health said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she thinks the pilot program will help fight teen pregnancy.
"High school students are very sexually active and getting pregnant, so we don't have that luxury to think that they are too young to be engaged in conversations about contraception and sexual education," Quinn told WCBS.
The birth control will be available to students as young as 14 without parental notification.
The Department of Education has sent notes to parents alerting them about the new program and information on how to opt out. Just one to two percent of parents have opted out of the program, the DOE said.
New York City schools already distribute free condoms to students.