Requiring Parental Consent for Clinic Services Would Increase Unsafe Sex

A recent study of more than 1,500 girls under the age of 18 has shown that if teens were required to obtain parental consent in order to receive birth control from family planning clinics, many would rather choose to have unprotected sex, with very few choosing to abstain from sex. Reuters reports that the study, conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, also found that 60 percent of the teens interviewed said their parents were already aware that they were visiting a family planning clinic. Of those whose parents did not know, 70 percent would stop visiting the clinic if parental notification were required.

Dr. Rachel Jones, author of the study, believes the result of such parental consent laws would be an increase in teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, reports the North County Times. Teenagers “wouldn’t stop having sex,” Jones told Reuters, “they would just have unsafe sex.”

Bills mandating that family planning clinics that receive federal funds through Title X of the Public Health Services Act require minors to produce proof of parental consent have been introduced in Congress every year since the late 1990s, according to Women’s eNews. Title X currently funds 4,500 of the 7,000 family planning clinics across the country. Only Utah and Texas currently mandate that clinics with certain funding must require parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor.

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WomenÕs eNews 1/20/05; Reuters 1/18/05; North County Times 1/18/05

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