Young Women Would Stop Using Birth Control if Their Parents

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Young Women Would Stop Using Birth Control if Their Parents Were Notified Ever since our founder Margaret Sanger was thrown in jail for providing information about birth control 86 years ago, Planned Parenthood has fought for access to confidential sexual health information and services for sexually active women of all ages, including women under 18.

The crucial importance of our fight has been borne out by a recent survey of teenage women in Wisconsin. The study, "Effects of Mandatory Parental Notification on Adolescent Girls' Use of Sexual Health Care Services," was published in the August 14, 2002, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nearly 1,000 girls younger than 18 who are using birth control and safer sex methods were asked what they would do if their states passed parental notification laws requiring health centers to involve their parents in these sexual health decisions. The answers these girls gave were clear: None of them would stop having sex.

Nearly 50 percent would stop seeking sexual and reproductive health care.

Nearly 30 percent would have unprotected vaginal intercourse.

A similar number said they would rely on withdrawal for protection.

The one percent who said they would give up vaginal intercourse said they'd rely on oral sex instead, which would prevent pregnancy but not infection.

It is obvious from these survey results that proposed parental notification laws for contraceptive and safer sex services can only lead to increased numbers of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among teenage women.

That's why public health experts, including those at Planned Parenthood, have long opposed interfering with young people's access to these important and intimate services. Professionals, lawmakers, and caregivers who care about young people will not put their health and well-being at risk with misguided parental notification laws.



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