Ottawa. Sex clinics have become permanent fixtures in Ottawa high schools.

After operating as pilot projects out of five Ottawa schools for the past two years, school board trustees voted last month to make the “ health clinics” permanent.

Trustee Molly O’Connor says she voted in favour of the clinics because students and parents want the counseling and contraceptives they provide. “ I firmly believe that if one child needs the service and accesses it, that makes it a viable unit and worth having,” says O’Connor.

But parent Val Starno worries such clinics are just a green light to sexually active teens. “School- based clinics, which are anonymous and available to anyone regardless of age, send a message that as long as sex is protected and unexploited, its okay,” says Starno. Pro-family leaders agree. They say statistics clearly show that sexual activity increases following the availability of contraceptive information.

Ottawa school trustees also agreed to investigate starting up clinics in other schools. Starno warns that the demand for such clinics will likely grow.