AMICAH Project Survey Results

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Teens Speak Out About Sexual Health Services

Today in California, the law says that teens have the right to confidential sexual health services – that means that teens ages 12 to 17 do not have to tell their parents that they go to the clinic and the clinic is not allowed to tell their parents.

We wanted to know – if the law changed, what would you do? Would you still come to the clinic?

In 2006 we asked teens in California’s family planning clinics to complete a questionnaire for the A.M.I.C.A.H. Project – Adolescents Making Informed Choices About Healthcare.” The study was done by the California Family Health Council.

Both females and males could complete the questionnaire, but we didn’t get a lot of surveys from males. 1,635 females completed questionnaires. So here is what girls said:

  • Three-fourths talk at least some to their mothers or female guardians about preventing pregnancy, but only one-fourth talk to their fathers or male guardians about preventing pregnancy.
  • More than one-third said that one of their parents or guardians knew that they were getting care at the clinic.
  • Just under half of girls said that if the law changed, they would still come to the clinic to get birth control. The other half would not come back.
  • Teens who talked to their moms or female guardians about preventing pregnancy were more likely to say that a parent knew that they were at the clinic.

What did we learn from this study?

  • It’s important that teens have confidential services. Without confidential services, a large number of California teens might not come to the clinic to get the health care that they need.
  • It’s good when teens can talk to their parents about sex. When they can, they are more likely to tell parents that they come to the clinic. We need to learn more about why some teens don’t or can’t talk with their parents about sex.

Questions about the study? Email teensource@cfhc.org