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At What Age Is Birth Control Appropriate?

Last week, The New York Times broke a story out of Maine in which the Portland school board approved a measure allowing middle-schoolers to gain access to prescription birth control medications without notifying their parents.

With this new ruling, King Middle School not only provides the birth control medications for their students, but their medical clinic also offers immunizations and physical checkups in addition to counseling for sexually transmitted diseases.

While some parents viewed this measure as a violation of parental rights, others felt that it was a necessary precaution to offer protection for kids that were engaging in "risky behavior."

I am sure this article will strike a cord with all you mothers out there, so how would you feel if your child were offered prescription birth control without your consent? And you non-mothers, do you think it's a good idea or a bad idea for middle schoolers to be exposed to birth control at such a young age?


Join The Conversation
JessBear JessBear 9 years
I think the school's on the right track. Having a clinic on sight where children can talk to trained professionals is a great idea. BUT...birth control is a DRUG. It's a HORMONAL MEDICATION. And I'm sorry, 12 year olds shouldn't be allowed to be put on that without their parent's consent. It's too risky. And, geez, I'm 21 and I can't remember to take the pill every day. And something tells me these girls are still going to be having sex after forgetting their pill, and not using condoms, thinking they're protected. Condoms should be the number one recomendation.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
PLUS. How is the prescribing doctor supposed to know that childs history? what if there is a history of blood clots in that family, or any other health issues?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I would flip out if the school offered my child birth control without me knowing. I dont care if girls are sexually active earlier, its NONE of the schools business to deal with that.
amberleigh amberleigh 9 years
**without their parent's consent...crazy computer!
amberleigh amberleigh 9 years
If you're ging to give CHILDREN birth control and not notify the parents, give them condoms. I don't think anyone has the right to prescribe any sort of medication to a child under the age fo 18.
Nouveau-Jackie-O Nouveau-Jackie-O 9 years
I agree with hotstuff. If there are adult women who can't commit to taking the pill what makes these people think that a middle schooler will? Bottom line, these kids are being sent out into deep water in a boat with a hole in the center. Unintended pregnancies will still happen! You can give these kids pamphlets and pills, but at the end of the day it's not addressing the heart of the issue. These kids are being thust to into the adult world without guidance. This community needs to stand up and confront the parents. If we as a society don't start making parents accountable then issues like this are only going to get worse. Some people may think that it can't be done, but if enough people make a stand things can change.
ich_bin_lo ich_bin_lo 9 years
just so everyone knows, the law in the state of maine is that anyone can get birth control with confidentiality - no matter who provides your health care. these kids have already begun engaging in sexual activity and thus need to be protected. they aren't hanging out free birth control to kids who just want it to start having sex.
bp21sugar bp21sugar 9 years
i'm not a mother yet, and i think it's a good idea, but i think middle school is a bit too young. i think maybe giving teens the option of taking birth control pills and giving them access to condoms their freshman year of high school would be a better idea. but then again kids are becoming more and more sexually active at younger ages, and they will do what they want no matter what you tell them, so maybe it is better to give them the option of protecting themselves. the most important thing is that they make the right choice to protect themselves and their partners.
geebers geebers 9 years
Sorry I was referring to this comment: "I can see both sides. Kids are going to have sex, whether they have protection or not, so why not make sure they at least have the option? But, on the other hand, by giving it to them, its like we're saying its perfectly fine to have sex at 14, when its really not. At 14, NO ONE is emotionally or physically ready to deal with sex."
geebers geebers 9 years
<> I dont know if this is necessarily always true. I knew lots of kids having sex at 12 when I was that age -and I was raised with enough knowledge and understanding that sex was not something I planned to have - and it doesnt matter if those condoms and BC Pills were available because i wasn't going to run out and have sex just because those things were available. Chances are, if you want to have sex and think you are going to be in that situation, then it is far better to have these options available because let's face reality folks- kids are having sex whether we approve or not. I dont advocate 11 year olds having sex but this is happening and we need to really make these options available or face babies having babies that they clearly are not ready for.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
This is a hard one, and I'm giving my opinion prematurely as a parent, considering my two girls are only 7 and 1, but from experience from when I was young. I think as a parent, you want your children to be safe one way or another. Sex is a very difficult subject for both parent and child in most families. I think that I would want my children to have an option if they didn't feel comfortable coming to me or their father, but had SOMEONE that was trained and educated and capable of giving them the help and guidance they needed, rather than none at all. You may be hurt and feel deceived or left out if you found out they chose a stranger, but sometimes that makes it easier to talk about personal matters. There are parents that have very young children that hide pregnancies and STD's from them. Maybe if these kids had someone to talk to they would have had better odds or wouldn't have had their health, mental wellness and family relationships at risk. Just look at the statistics for abandoned/murdered babies.
Jinx Jinx 9 years
I think if people are having sex, they should have birth control. I hate to say it, but if I knew the Public Health Nurse who gave me birth control was going to call my Mom, I wouldn't have went.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
When I think back to my friends in highschool who went on the pill when they were 14...gross. I was too terrified to even think about asking my parents for it. And too mortified to go to the free clinic and get it myself. That fear and mortification kept me a virgin for years and years after all my friends lost theirs.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
I can only hope that if I have a child, male or female, that I can talk to him/her about sex early on and how sex isn't really right for 12 and 13-year-olds. I hope that I can build up some trust so that if he/she does engage in sex or is curious about starting, that he/she can come to me and ask questions and ask for help. Maybe that middle school giving away birth control will prompt the parents of middle schoolers as well as other parents in that area to sit down with their kids and have a nice long talk. Did anyone else see Private Practice last night??
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I don't think any child should be on prescription medication without their parents knowing about it. I think all the school is accomplishing is getting 13 year olds to avoid having the sex talk with their parents.... which they should certainly be having. Personally I think birth control is a terrible drug with many dangerous side effects, but to each her own (I'm married with two kids). If these young girls are mature enough to have sex, they're mature enough to tell their parents about it.
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
Good and Bad Sides. I was one of girls who became sexually active way too young (13). I think if the pill was available to me it would have made me even worse, but at the same time had I become a mother at 14? What a nightmare....
Advah Advah 9 years
First, I don't think offering birth-control to teens is going to encourage them to have sex earlier. I think it's a really good idea if it is backed up with a proper education, ie explaining what safe sex really is. I agree with Facin8me that using condoms asks for taking responsibilities and not being afraid of saying what you want, so a good sex education is more necessary than ever. As much as I approve of giving free condoms, I'd completely disagree with putting kids on the pill without the parents knowing about it. As someone said, the pill doesn't protect from STIs/STDs and that's probably the first thing to teach to kids. Also, let's not forget that the pill can create side effects, sometimes serious, and the parents should know about it. Otherwise it's like giving antibiotics to a kid and hiding to her parents, pretty irresponsible in my opinion. While I totally understand that some teens may wish to be on the pill without telling her parents, for various reasons, you need to make sure she is mature enough to understand that taking the pill is something serious - so I wouldn't recommend that for 13-14yo.
pink_magnetism pink_magnetism 9 years
I think that access to birth control should be available no mater what age-if they're having sex, then they should be making sure it's safe. I don't know if it should be the school's responsibility to hand out birth control pills though.
Lizzle Lizzle 9 years
I think one important thing to keep in mind is that the pills wouldn't just be given out like candy to any kid that asks for them--the nurses and other health professionals at the school clinic would screen the girls first and make sure they would be able to handle it. A lot of these comments just say "OMG that is WAY too young for them to be having sex!" but the facts show that the kids in this area ARE doing it, so it doesn't matter what we think they SHOULD be doing. What we need to be doing is making sure these kids have the tools they need to be healthy and informed.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Oh yeah and if they girls are secretly getting the pill how are they going to go to the gyno and do the regular tests that sexually active women should have. My friend went on the pill when she was 19 and before she was even prescribed had to get a pap smear. How many 11 year old girls are honestly going to do that?
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Isn't it bad to be on continuous birth control for a long period of time?? I would worry about the effects of that continual hormone/medication treatment from age 11 on. Can you imagine being on birth control from 11 to say your late twenties when you finally want to have kids? That is over a decade of that. I dont even want to know what that could do to that poor girls ovaries and hormones Also how many girls at age 11 are even on their period or have a steady regular period to properly take the pill?
Zero_Cool Zero_Cool 9 years
I think it's a good idea to have the option of going someplace that you feel comfortable and getting birth control. When I was in jr high I felt much more comfortable talking to my history teacher than to my parents. She didn't judge me, yell at me, or threaten to ground me. She listened and got me whatever help that I needed. I think it's important for kids to know that there's a place they can go to for help. For me the nearest Planned Parenthood is over an hour away, so for my 14 year old self it was not an option.
gal321 gal321 9 years
i absolutely support it. i worked as a social worker and had 13 year old girls who had had multiple abortions. its a sad fact but this is the state of our country. not just ignorance abt sex on the part of the kids, but also sexual abuse, rape, and drugs which put kids at higher risk for early sexual activity. parents should be more up in arms about the fact that they arent keeping good enough tabs and communication up with their children and that the kids dont feel like they can go to their parents for help. protect your kids from the risk factors that lead to early sex. if you are an active and engaged parent then your kid probably wont have to go ask the nurse for it. otherwise, theyre gonna have sex whether you like it or not and they should be protected.
Liz4aker Liz4aker 9 years
luvneverends: The pill does NOT prevent STDs.
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