The idea that minors on contraception should have the right to make decisions about health care is well established in federal and state policy. They specifically authorize the minors to consent to test HIV and other STI diseases, contraceptive services, prenatal care as well as delivery services. Other than abortion, the lawmakers have resisted the attempts to impose parent consent on the minor’s access to reproductive health care and sensitive services. However, the movement to return the issue of parental rights an to legislate the parental control over the minor’s reproductive health care and also the decisions towards it remains active.
Similar debates have occurred at state level for example in Texas, the legislature in 1997 voted for prohibiting use of state family planning funds to provide drugs like birth control pills and those to treat STIs to the minors without the parents consent. The law was to be effected on 1998 after the Supreme Court in Texas concluded that removing the provision without evidence of any harm done would be premature. From that time, the law is not involved or does not interfere with the minor’s getting confidential services from the Title X supported clinics and also other providers who serve them with federal funds (Boonstra et al, 2000).
The debate on the contraception to the minors is, however, a hot one and this paper tries to look at the Pros and Cons of this matter.
Young people cannot be prevented from experimenting with sex by simply denying them the contraceptives. It is noted that in the United States, each year about 400,000 teenagers give birth (Gavin, 2012). Most of the teenage girls will have sexual intercourse at the age of sixteen. The rate of pregnancies by teenagers is highest in Europe and therefore reducing the access to contraceptives will only make the problem worse.
We understand that it is illegal for under age teens to practice sex. It is therefore illegal to contribute to this activity by providing the teens with contraceptives as this will only lead to encouraging the behavior as the girls will be safe from getting pregnant.
If the teens are denied the birth controls, this will only lead to pregnancy complications to the teen, low birth weights and other health problems. All these health risks to the teen mother and the infant are a burden to the state and federal aid as well as the taxpayers. This is because the teens do not have health insurance.
To reduce the problem of the teens having pregnancies, the states should use the funds in educating the teens on the dangers of having pre marital sex. They should be encouraged to wait until they get married and concentrate on their education first.
A survey conducted by National Campaign to Prevent Pregnancy showed that 83% adults and 86% teens agreed that reducing teen pregnancy would decrease the rate of dropouts in high schools hence increase the academic achievements of the teens.(With one voice,2012). This also increase chances of employment, reduce children born out of marriage hence eradicate poverty. This can only be achieved through teens accessing birth control.
Contraception will not prevent this problem of teenage pregnancy it may even add problems such as STIs. This is because of the low sex maturity of the teens and also because there is less sex education given to the teens. Young girls are likely to go for condoms and preventive methods of contraception than seeking the contraceptive pills that must be prescribed by a doctor.
Having parent contact discourages the teens from obtaining the contraception (Parental,2006). 70% of sexually active teens confessed that they would not go for birth control if it required consent from the parent ( Vesely, 2005). Teens who do not use contraception have 90% chance of being pregnant (Real,2012). It is better therefore to allow teens to go for contraception without the parent consent.
The role of sex education and moral framework is and has always been the work of the parents. It must not be said that the teens will fail to get contraception with parents consent rather they should know it is not the work of the stare or the laws. Children get a lot of assess to sexual images in the media and therefore have problems in making the right decisions when it comes to relationships and sexual matters.
Without contraception, teens are at a threat of contracting STIs and this is a major threat to their lives. About three million teens in the US acquire STIs in a year (Parental, 2006). These infections are highly communicable and without adequate care, and protection, the teens are at a high risk of advanced diseases such as cancer and STIs.
Encouraging young teens to have sex at early age will expose them to risks of infections of HIV aids and sexually transmitted diseases. This is because contraception is not 100% effective and can therefore lead to the STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
Contraception is one of the parts of the wider sex education which is taught in schools and therefore this is an opportunity to educate young teens about sexual health. It comes at a time when the girl is considering the issues at personal level.
Allowing the prescription of contraception does not prevent teenage pregnancy. Young teenagers have inadequate sex education and they also have low maturity. They therefore would go for condoms instead of contraceptive pills prescribed by the doctor or physician.
Teenagers should not be expected to change their attitudes abruptly. They should be given enough time to make informed decisions. Young people will mature at different ages and will also have different experiences and preventing them from access to safer sex is not productive.
The health of teenagers should be considered as important. The harmful effects of contraceptive pills are still not known. It is therefore irresponsible to prescribe them to young teenagers who are still in their puberty before we are fully aware of the dangers.
The role of doctors involves being responsible to their patients. Even though the British Medical Association allows doctors to work at certain criteria, the doctor can still be sued in a court of law by the parents of a teenager if anything goes wrong. It contradicts when the doctor is given the right to judge their patient’s interests and yet deny them a right to prescribe a precautionary safe measure of their health.
Sexual education and moral support should be the responsibility of the parent and not any other person. Teenagers have been spoilt by the media and therefore have difficulties in making right choices in life concerning matters of sexuality. Hence the need for guidance before exposing them to contraception.
Heather Boonstra, Elizabeth. (2000). Minors and the Right to Consent to Health Care. The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy.Volume 3, Number 4
With one Voice Reduce Abortion Rates. (2012) sponsored by The National Campaingto Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy. Retrieved on 3rd Dec 2012 from.
Claire Brindis, Laura Davis. (1998). Improving contraceptive access for teens a series from Advocates for Youth. Washington,DC. Retrieved on 3rd Dec 2012 from
Guttmacher.(2000). The Real Deal from National Campaing to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved on 3rd Dec 2012 from.http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/preventing-pregnancy/the-real-deal/
Rebecca Vesely, (2000).Teens Opt for Unsafe Sex, not Parents’ Consent. Wonensnews. Retrieved on 3rd Dec 2012 from. http://womensenews.org/story/health/050120/teens-opt-unsafe-sex-not-parents-consent.
Science Daily(Nov29, 2011). Abstinence-Only Education Does Not Lead to Abstinent Behavior, Researchers Find. University of Georgia. Retrieved on 3rd Dec 2012 from.
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