(INDIANAPOLIS) – A House bill expanding prenatal and postnatal funding includes money for birth control. Some advocates want legislators to go further.
The bill allows local grants for contraception, but requires parental approval before making it available to minors. Mary Ott with the American Academy of Pediatrics argues that’s where it’s most needed. She says when Colorado authorized confidential, same-day access to a full range of contraception, from the pill to IUD’s, teen pregnancy dropped by 29%, and the teenage abortion rate dropped by one-third.
But Ott says only half of sexually active high school seniors use birth control, and the rate drops sharply among younger adolescents.
Fort Wayne mental health counselor Robin Atkins supports the birth control funding, but says parents aren’t the villains and shouldn’t be shut out. She notes minors can’t consent to health care on their own, and under 16, they can’t consent to sex either. Richmond Senator Jeff Raatz (R) says if he learned a pediatrician was prescribing birth control to his daughter without his knowledge, he’d change pediatricians.
Indianapolis pediatrician Grant Callen argues confidentiality and secrecy aren’t the same thing. And he notes some parents may not be supportive, or even abusive.