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Teen Girls' Health

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Which Birth Control Methods Are Best for Teens?

Health Care Pros Advised to Help Teens Get IUDs, Implants continued...

The guidelines also state that health professionals should protect teens' confidentiality, which "is of particular importance to adolescents."

As of September 2012, in 21 states and the District of Columbia, nobody other than the teen needs to be involved in the decision. In 25 states, laws restrict the ability of teens to decide all by themselves:

  • Twenty-one states allow teens to consent to birth control services if they are married.
  • Three states allow minors to consent to birth control services if a doctor determines they would face a health hazard without them.
  • Six states allow minors to consent to birth control services if they already are parents.
  • Six states allow minors to consent to birth control services if they are or have ever been pregnant.
  • Eleven states allow minors to consent to birth control services if they meet requirements such as having a high school diploma, demonstrating maturity, or receiving a referral from a doctor or member of the clergy.

The ACOG guidelines note that cost will be a barrier to teens who, to protect their confidentiality, do not want to seek benefits under their parents' health insurance. Other teens' family health insurance may not cover birth control, or they may be uninsured.

"In all of these cases, referral to a publicly funded clinic may be appropriate," the guidelines suggest. "Proposed health care reform methods, including [IUDs and birth-control implants], without co-payments or deductibles for these preventive health services, may ease this burden."

The new ACOG guidelines appear in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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