On #ThxBirthControl Day, we’re encouraging everyone to talk about why we love birth control and what it’s done for us and our communities!
Most people use birth control at some point in their lives (99% to be exact!) and people across the gender spectrum may choose to use birth control. People use birth control for many different reasons -- whether it be to prevent pregnancy or for other health reasons, like regulating periods, controlling skin breakouts or relieving menstrual migraine headaches.
Along with saying “thank you,” let’s also take a minute to talk about what rights California teens have to access birth control. The more informed young people are, the better choices they will be able to make
Here are 5 things to know:
1. Permission is not required
In California, anyone of any age can get any type of birth control. Youth do not need permission from a parent or guardian to get birth control.
2. Information about birth control will be kept confidential
California teens have a right to confidentiality when accessing birth control services. Talking to parents or another trusted adult can be a good idea when it comes to making medical decisions like using birth control. But the law says that doctors and health care providers cannot tell parents or guardians if teens are using birth control.
- If a parent's health insurance is used to pay for birth control or clinic visit, teens need to take an extra step to keep their information private – learn more at myhealthmyinfo.org.
3. California teens can get birth control for free!
- Teens with health insurance can get any birth control method that is right for them for FREE under California law!
- For teens without health insurance, there are several options to get birth control for free, regardless of immigration status:
- The California Family PACT program provides free and confidential help to anyone that needs birth control. Teens can sign up at a clinic near them.
- Medi-Cal is another program that offers free health care to low-income Californians—including birth control!
- Young people under 21, Medi-Cal only counts the money you earn for yourself, not what your parents earn. Former foster youth who are 26 years old or younger can also qualify for Medi-Cal coverage.
- Medi-Cal services are confidential. To sign up for Medi-Cal, visit www.coveredca.com for more information.
4. Where to get birth control
- Teens can get birth control at their regular doctor, at a family planning clinic, or at a pharmacy.
- Use the TeenSource Clinic Finder to find a clinic nearby, or text the word “clinic” followed by a zip code to 877877
- In California, anyone can get the pill, birth control patch or ring from a pharmacist. Not ALL pharmacies offer this service, so find one near you here.
- There are some apps that offer birth control by mail, but these may cost more money and require a credit card.
- As long as there is a safe place to keep it, teens have the right to get a 12 month supply of birth control at once! Just ask your doctor.
5. Making an appointment to get birth control in person or by phone/video
- If someone needs birth control, they can simply make an appointment! It is important to be open with the person on the phone about the reason for the appointment. It’s their job to help you make the right type of appointment for everyone!
- Read TeenSource’s tips for visiting a clinic to know what to expect.
· If its too difficult to get to a clinic in person, ask if they offer appointments for birth control by phone or video.
- Teens also have the right to take time off from school for confidential health care appointments without a parent’s permission. If someone needs to leave school, they should talk with their school counselor or office person ahead of time to learn how to leave campus.
- Hot tip: Teens also have the right to access mental health counseling, drug treatment, STD prevention services and more during school hours without the permission of an adult. Check out TeenHealthRights.org to learn more.
The long and short of it? California teens have the right to free and confidential birth control. Spread the word!