The *San Francisco Chronicle*, August 4, 1993: An attempt by a tiny private high school in rural Sonoma County to provide students with complete information on issues relating to their sexuality has alarmed parents and county authorities. As part of a sex-education course at the Cazadero Academy last spring, a school official distributed a one-page handout to 14- to 19-year-old students on how to induce an abortion with an herbal tincture. The detailed instructions explain how to mix herbs such as cohosh and pennyroll with vodka, then describe a daily and weekly regimen for drinking the tincture until bleeding begins. But the sheet contains no instructions on what to do if any emergency arises or any suggestion that a woman should consult a parent or physician. Carol Miller, administrator and teacher at the small school, conceded that the omission was unwise but said that she covered that information in the classroom. "I told the kids if they are going to attempt an abortion on their own," she said, "they should also have guidance from a midwife." ... "It's basically a good school," said one parent, who asked not to be identified. "But this is too much. I was horrified." Another parent, Terri Carpenter, said her daughter had discussed the handout with her--but, she added, "I didn't know about the vodka."
I am a former student of Cazadero Academy. I am now attending a private university in Hawaii. I first attended 'Caz' in the fall of 1993, after this incident had taken place. This article is correct, Carol Miller had handed out this information. What the article does not mention is the context in which this information was given, and the other information that was given in addition to it. This type of information is still discussed, and as before the other options are included. These other options included, abstinence, keeping the child, as well as adoption. This information, that is kept from our teens, teens that are for the most part sexually active, is concidered adult information. Society is so careful to protect the young. Yet it is the young who are becoming infected with HIV and other STDs. I realize this is a shock for many adults, the fact that these topics are being discussed. But, in my first semester of highschool at a diferent school I meet a young girl who had read in a book that she could take these herbs to have an abortion. She did not read this book carefuly, and used the herbs incorrectly. She became very sick, and resulted in her being hospitilized. The point is, this information is out there, when people are desperate they will find a way to resolve their situation. The diference between this young girl and the girls learning from Carol Miller is learning. Personally I would rather that young adults be informed then doing something they know nothing about, something that is very dangerous. This article only tells half of the story. I praise Mrs. Miller for her courage to tell the truth and informing students on very serious issues. Issues that Carol Miller and the students do not take lightly, they are discused in a safe knowlegable environment. The change made as a result to this article is the handout to parents letting them know the topics that will be discussed. I honestly believe without out this information young girls, like my friend, could seriously injure themselves. Just because something is taught that it not the 'norm' does not mean that it is wrong or harmful. In this case it proves to be the opposite.
-- Meredith K. Powell, December 1, 1997