State laws that would require that parents be notified when girls younger than 18 seek birth-control services would be likely to increase risky sexual behavior, teenage-pregnancy rates, and sexually transmitted diseases, concludes a study published in last week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Read the abstract of “Adolescents’ Reports of Parental Knowledge of Adolescents’ Use of Sexual Health Services and Their Reactions to Mandated Parental Notification for Prescription Contraception” from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Commissioned by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a New York City-based research and advocacy group that supports reproductive- health choices for people of all ages, the study surveyed 1,526 young women under age 18 who were seeking sexual-health services at a national sample of 79 family-planning clinics. Sixty percent of the respondents reported that a parent or guardian knew they were accessing such services.
Among the girls whose parents were unaware they were seeking the services, only 30 percent said they would continue to seek such services if a state parental-notification law were in place.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week