Access to condoms, STD testing, and family planning information and treatment without having to go through parental channels has been great for young girls in many ways. Some teens can’t talk to their parents about certain things and others don’t truly have a parental figure in their lives to seek guidance from so it’s been very beneficial to have services available in schools or through other social organizations that can fill the void when needed.
But there comes a point when boundaries are pushed too much and parents are kept too far out of the loop, and that line has been crossed in the UK. A government program there allows teenage girls to receive birth control implants at school without their parents’ knowledge and consent, and some parents are outraged—as they should be.
More than just the blatant disregard for parental rights, parents are also concerned about their daughters’ health. Implanon, the 3-inch long plastic matchstick that’s surgically installed beneath the surface of the skin under the arm, is effective for up to three years, and according to one mother, the device was placed in her daughter without any consultation with her family doctor, she simply filled out a short medical history.
Parents say they’ve had to search their daughters underarms to determine whether they’ve been implanted and that their right to protect their children has been taken away, while other opposers like the Family Education Trust believe this method will cause teens to be even more sexually reckless. The latter concern is similar to those who believe teaching anything other than abstinence will cause teens to be promiscuous which is naive, but the parents have legitimate concerns.
At the age of 13, the age which the schools will implant these girls, teenagers are not in a position to make a long-term decision about their health, not just sexually, but overall. Hormones in birth control can have long-term effects and it’s important that girls know just what their signing up for when they receive these implants. It shouldn’t be the case that teenage girls only seek resources when they are in trouble–such as abortions or emergency contraceptives, but I don’t think parents should be kept out of the discussion when it comes to an eighth grade girl who is considering becoming sexually active. It’s also not clear whether any type of education accompanies these procedures and that’s just as important as the implant itself because birth control does not prevent STDs.
The attitude from the school system, and even a number of commenters on an article Jezebel wrote on the subject seems to be prevent teen pregnancy by whatever means necessary. The government reports that teen pregnancy has in fact been reduced since the program has been introduced, but there may be other consequences to giving a 13-year-old too much freedom over her sexual life at that age. Ultimately it’s a parent’s job to protect and guide their child in all areas at that age and a school system shouldn’t take that away.
What do you think about this program’s policy of implanting birth control in teens without parental consent? Should the US adopt a similar program since it’s effective?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- 8 Big Mistakes Baby Mothers Often Make
- Brow Beating: People Whose Eyebrows Inspire Our Tweezing
- Boy, Bye!: 6 Stupid Reasons to Turn a Man Down
- 7 Things That Should Never Happen In The Bedroom
- Scent From the Heart: 10 Fragrances Perfect for Valentine’s Day
- Are You A Coward When It Comes To Breaking Up?
- Hair Q&A: Front Edges and Dry Scalp
- So, What Do Their Moms Look Like