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Consent Laws May Promote Risky Teen Sex

Laws Mandating Parental Consent for Contraception Affect Teen Sex Habits

Why Teens Don't Tell Their Parents continued...

The second most common response to mandated parental notification was to use an over-the-counter method of birth control, such as condoms, if consent was required. Teens whose parents knew they were visiting the clinic were more likely to indicate that they would use an over-the-counter method.

But the study also showed that 18% of teenagers said they would engage in risky sex by not using any birth control if parental notification was mandated. The likelihood of engaging in risky sex was much lower among teens who had informed their parents of clinic use and those whose parents had suggested the clinic.

When asked if a law mandating parental consent for obtaining prescription birth control would prevent them from seeking sexually transmitted disease testing or other STD services, 95% of teens said they would use the clinic or a private physician, but only a few (5%) said such a law would cause them to forgo these services.

Researchers say the results show that mandated parental notifications laws would likely increase risky or unsafe sexual behavior among teens and may, in turn, increase rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

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