May is National Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Month, and while abstinence is the only 100% effective method to avoid unintended pregnancy (and the only safe method available while we are all under Stay at Home Orders), it is just one of many valid choices. For those who choose to have sex, it is important to use a consistent use of a safe and effective birth control method to prevent an unintended pregnancy. And there’s no better time than Stay At Home time to brush up on your rights and take action to own your health.
When we say “unintended” pregnancies, what do we mean?
An unintended pregnancy is when someone gets pregnant who did not want to become pregnant.
Birth Control During COVID-19
Whether you’re already on birth control, or want to start using it, you may be wondering how to access it while California is still under Stay at Home orders. Good news! Our state is working hard to make sure you can get the birth control services you want and need without ever leaving your bedroom.
Here’s how you can access birth control during COVID-19:
- Sign up for affordable care online or over the phone: Uninsured? Low-income? No problem. Check out your options, whether it’s applying for Medi-Cal, or accessing California’s family planning program, Family PACT, for access to FREE and CONFIDENTIAL sexual and reproductive services. While usually you’d have to sign up for these services in person, due to the coronavirus, you can now sign up for both of these programs remotely. You are just one phone call away from free birth control!
- Find out if you’re eligible for Medi-Cal, and then sign up online.
- Find out if you’re eligible for Family PACT, then call a provider near you to sign up over the phone.
- If you have a prescription for the birth control shot (otherwise known as the depo-provera shot), you may now be able to pick up your prescription at a pharmacy and self-administer from home. Talk to your doctor to learn more.
- Talk to your doctor remotely about what options are right for you: While many clinics and doctors’ offices are closed or taking emergency appointments only, some are still taking walk-in appointments or providing care outside of the clinic doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. California has also updated state policies to allow care through telehealth – when services can be accessed remotely like over the phone or video chat. That means you can still talk to a doctor about your starting a new birth control method or getting a refill on the method you have already started, without going to a health center.
- Find a clinic near you and then give them a call to find out what services are available to you –remember, services offered over the phone or through video chat are held to the same confidentiality standards that a regular doctor’s visit would be, but make sure you have whatever privacy you need in your home before calling the doctor.
Your Rights to Care Anytime
Guess what? You have a right to free + confidential birth control outside of this pandemic too.
- Get Confidential Care – As a California teen, you have the right to free and confidential access to a variety of sexual and reproductive health care services, like birth control and STD testing and treatment. California law REQUIRES your doctor to ask for your consent before releasing any of your information.
- On your parent’s or someone else’s insurance and don’t want them to find out? Don’t worry! Learn about the steps you need to take to keep that information private if you need to, so you can get the care you need.
- When you are able to go back to school, remember that California teens may be excused from class to access sexual and reproductive health services WITHOUT needing their parents' or guardians' permission and without them being notified.
- Get the Birth Control Method of Your Choice Covered – In 2016, CA passed a law called SB 1053 to make sure that anyone with health insurance can receive full coverage for all contraception methods approved by the FDA. This means you can get any method for FREE. Find out what birth control method might be best for you!
- Get a Years Supply of Hormonal Birth Control at Once – In 2017, CA passed a law called SB 999, which requires health insurance plans to cover a year’s worth of supply of self-administered birth control to be dispensed at one time. That means not having to refill your birth control every 30 days!
Knowledge is Power
The more you know about your health and your rights, the more you can make the decisions that are right for you and empower others to do the same.
- Visit TeenSource’s birth control page to learn about the different birth control methods available and find one that might be right for you now or in the future.
- May is also #SexEdForAll month, where we take a stand for comprehensive sex education for EVERYONE -- including increasing access to and knowledge about birth control options, as well as making sure teens are empowered to make healthy choices about sex, whether it be consenting or abstaining. Comprehensive sex ed is required by California law for all public and private schools.