Seattle, WA -- Between 1991 and 2013, the teen birth rate declined by 57% nationwide. Over this period, teen pregnancy has declined in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups.
Washington State is ranked 13 in the country for teen pregnancies with 20.5 births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19. That is a much better rate than Arkansas, which is more than double at 43.5 births per 1,000 girls.
Even with this nationwide decline, public schools in Washington are going the extra mile. School-based health clinics in at least 13 Seattle-area public high schools and middle schools now offer long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), including IUDs and hormonal implants.
These services are available to students in sixth-grade and above at no cost (to the student), according to Washington State officials. The costs are covered by the taxpayers.
Young and sexually active women using birth control is undoubtedly a wise decision as having a baby at a young age in this country can tend to disrupt a teenager's life.
That being said, the average age of a 6th-grade student is 11. The average age of menarche (when a female begins to menstruate) is around 13.75-years-old.
The idea of the state taking on the role of gynecological advisor for girls as young as 11-years-old, without their parents' knowledge, has a slew of ominous implications associated with it.
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The irony here is that soda pop is banned in Seattle schools, yet an 11-year-old girl can have a procedure to implant a birth control device inside her, without her parents consent!
LARCs are associated with multiple side effects as well, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
CNS News reports,
The state and federally funded contraceptive services are made possible by Take Charge, a Washington State Medicaid program which provides free birth control to adults who are uninsured, lack contraceptive coverage, have an income at or below 260 percent of the Federal Poverty Level -- or, in this case, to teens who don’t want their parents to know they’re on birth control.
In an email exchange with the Washington State Health Care Authority and CNSNews.com, a Take Charge spokesperson acknowledged that underage students are eligible for a “full array of covered family planning services” at school-based clinics if their parents meet the program’s requirements.
Take Charge added that “a student who does not want their parents to know they are seeking reproductive health services is allowed to apply for Take Charge using their own income, and if they are insured under their parents’ plan, the insurance would not be billed.”
It is important to note that no one here is arguing over the notion that birth control for sexually active teens is unnecessary, or immoral, or unethical. In fact, it's the responsible thing to do. However, the state conducting gynecological procedures on 11-year-old girls, in secret, is frightening!
If an 11-year-old girl walked into a private OBGYN clinic alone and asked the receptionist for an IUD, you could rest assured that the doctor would not conduct the procedure without the consent of the parents. They are ethically obligated to do so.
What magic happens when the state usurps that trust between a child and her parents which makes the lack of parental consent acceptable?
Why not teach children to better communicate with their parents, instead of inviting them into a deceptive and confidential relationship with a government gynecologist?
In America today, if you are an 11-year-old girl, you can't go on a field trip to the Science Museum without your parents signing a consent form. However, if you want to, you can get a long-acting reversible contraceptive device inserted into your vagina, by a government agent, and your parents never need to know.