On January 8th the Maryland House of Delegates introduced a bill, House Bill 53, that would require minors to have written parental consent to get insertive contraceptive devices, such as the intrauterine device (IUD) and implantable rod. This bill does not require parental consent for minors to receive other forms of birth control, such as the pill and patch. Currently, Maryland is one of the 23 states that allow minors to access birth control without parental consent.
The intention of the bill is for parents to be informed about the health of their children; however, experts state that parental consent laws can often prevent young people from accessing the birth control that they need. By requiring parental consent, it delays the time in which an adolescent may start using birth control which could result in unplanned pregnancy, or can cause teenagers to not utilize birth control at all. According to Rebecca Thimmesch, manager of Advocate for Youth’s Free the Pill Council, adolescents living in unsafe situations may be blocked from getting birth control when parental consent is required.
Critics of the law state that insertive contraceptive devices are effective in preventing pregnancy, as they are 20 times more effective than the pill. Teenagers are more likely to experience contraceptive failure with the pill than adults do, so experts argue that restricting access to the most effective forms of birth control cause more harm than good.
This form of legislation is part of a larger trend of lawmakers requiring parental consent and notification for numerous reproductive health care services. There are states that require the consent of the parents for a minor to use birth control and only have exceptions such as minors needing to be married or a high school graduate. Additionally, 21 states that require parental consent when a minor wants to obtain an abortion.
If this bill is signed into law, it will go into effect on October 1, 2020.
Sources: House Bill 53 1/8/20; CNN 1/17/20; Vox 1/14/20; Kaiser Family Foundation 5/1/19; Guttmacher Institute 1/1/20