Confidential reproductive health care for adolescents

Rachel K Jones, Heather Boonstra
Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2005, 17 (5): 456-60

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: There have been recent legislative efforts in the USA to implement mandated parental involvement for minor adolescents seeking services for contraception and, in some cases, sexually transmitted diseases.

RECENT FINDINGS: Research collecting information from adolescents in family planning clinics shows that the majority report that a parent knows they use the clinic for sexual health services. Similarly, a majority of minor adolescent females expects that they would use family planning clinics for prescription contraception, even if parental involvement were required. About one in five expected she would obtain contraception from a private doctor. A substantial minority, however, would engage in unsafe sex, and this response would be more common among teenagers whose parents did not know they used the clinic. Parental involvement laws for contraception might discourage some teenagers from using other services, such as testing or treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

SUMMARY: It is likely that mandated parental involvement laws would do little to decrease levels of teenage sexual activity but would, instead, increase rates of teenage pregnancy and, perhaps, rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

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