Teenage Birth Control Rights Essay Research Paper

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Teenage Birth Control Rights Essay, Research Paper Commentary: Teenage Birth Control Rights In today’s world, there are conflicts over the confidentiality of police reports, conflicts over the right to have an abortion, and conflicts over the release of personal medical records for public knowledge. All of these pressing issues have at least one thing in common-they are all issues of privacy. Many discussions take place regarding adults rights to privacy. Yet the same adults, who are so concerned over their rights, have proposed laws that limit the rights of teenagers. One of these bills, which regarded Title X (Ten) Birth Control Clinics, passed the U.S. House of Representatives in October of 1998. Legislators need to realize that pushing parental involvement is not ideal,

and that there are many reasons why a teenager might be on birth control. Title X Legislation was originally passed in the early 70’s and stated that women’s reproductive health care should be available to all regardless of age, race, or monetary status. It also setup “Title X” Birth Control Clinics that provided women with low-cost contraceptives as well as medical screenings. Title X has been very successful. Over the years it has aided in decreasing pregnancy rates as well as reducing the spread of AIDS and STDs. However, what worked in the simplistic age of the 70’s is not quite as effective in the transitional period of the 90’s. The new bill limiting the use of such clinics was co-sponsored by Congressmen Don Manzullo, Ernest Istook, and James Barcia. The

team’s legislation stemmed from an incident in Crystal Lake, Illinois, in which a 37-year-old teacher brought his 14-year-old student to the Title X-funded county health department for birth control injections so he could continue molesting her at will (Manzullo Wins Title X Bill in House). While this bill only mandates the Title X Clinics involve parents, it sets a dangerous model that others might soon follow. Adults believe that the current system, which allows for teenagers to obtain birth control without parental consent, “interfere[s] with parental authority” (Fennell). The argument is that parents feel threatened by the lack of involvement in their teen’s life. When in fact, there are many other ways to be involved in a teen’s life without being overly

inquisitive regarding their personal sex lives. According to Laura Meckler, twenty-five percent of parents, and forty percent of teens are uncomfortable talking about sex (Meckler, Teen Birth Rates Decline). Since discussion of sex causes discomfort between many parents and teenagers instead of pushing parental involvement in this issue, we should teach parents how to be involved in other aspects of their children’s lives. An article that I discovered recently stated that “mutual trust, a healthy respect for personal privacy, and communication” are the foundations of a good parent-child relationship (Being There for Your Teenager). One way for a parent to achieve this is by being a good role model, and another is by showing love. According to Arnot Ogden Medical Center,

“Plenty of love at home can make it less urgent to find love through sexual encounters” (Being there for Your Teenager). This thought is comforting because it suggests that parents can still have a positive affect on their child’s life without mandating parental involvement in the issuance of birth control and other personal issues. The thought also allows for teenagers and parents to forge bonds, which will promote more active parental involvement in the teen’s life. While parental involvement is essential, parental over-reaction can inhibit communication (Being There for Your Teenager). In life, there are situations that are too embarrassing to share with others. For instance, as mentioned before, parents want to keep their medical records private, yet they want to know