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Do Parents Have To Be Consulted Before Minors Can Get Brith Control

Introduction

People wishing to have sexual intercourse have many contraceptive options available, such as using the IUD, the arm implant, the birth control shot, the vaginal ring, the patch, condoms, and birth control pills. However, depending on where minors live, parents may or may not have to be consulted before minors can get a birth control prescription.

While some states may have strict guidelines on who can obtain hormonal options, in most states, patients can purchase over-the-counter non-hormonal contraceptives such as spermicide and condoms regardless of age and without consulted parents. Some institutions, such as Planned Parenthood, also offer low-cost hormonal and non-hormonal birth control items to the general public. Check the laws for your state or country before you seek treatment, or call a health center and explain your situation, as well as your age. Ask if parents must be notified or consulted if you choose to use that health center's services.

State Laws

Most states either do not have a law regarding birth control services or minors, or the states have provisions allowing for minors to get birth control services without contacting a parent. Delaware requires that minors must be at least 12-years-old, Hawaii demands that patients be at least 14-years-old and South Carolina requires that patients be at least 16-years-old to get birth control without consulted a parent. However, in South Carolina, physicians may, but are not required to inform parents that a child is getting birth control. Many states, such as Florida, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania can provide birth control to minors without parental consent if the patient has ever been pregnant, is married, received a referral from another doctor, may have health problems related to not getting the birth control prescription, or is a high school graduate.

Alternative Options

If you live in a state where you cannot be given birth control because of your age or given birth control without parental consent, you still have many birth control options at your disposal. Family planning clinics can offer condoms, spermicide, sponges and diaphragms to help prevent pregnancy. Family planning clinics can also teach you about less effective means of pregnancy prevention, such as the family awareness method (which involves scheduling sex during the times of month when a woman is least likely to be fertile). You can also choose to travel to another state that allows minors to receive birth control pills without parental consent and go to a family planning clinic in that state.

Tips and comments

Always ask a medical clinic about their policies on patient confidentiality. If you feel that your confidentiality may be violated, or that your parents may be consulted about your reproductive decisions, go to another clinic or another state for treatment. Planned Parenthood clinics typically treat patients without seeking the consent of parents.

If you are sexually active, consider getting a pregnancy test or STD screenings. If you plan to go on birth control pills, it is also important that you are not pregnant before you begin taking the pill.

By Jenny Adkins, published at 02/27/2012
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