Next Wednesday, Nov. 13, is Thanks, Birth Control Day -- a day dedicated to showing a little extra love for our birth control method of choice. Most women 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. 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!
Along with saying “thank you,” let’s also take a minute to talk about what rights we have around birth control access. The more informed you and your friends are, the more able you’ll be able to make the best choices for yourself!
Here’s what you need to know:
Do I need permission to get birth control?
No! In California, anyone of any age can get birth control without anyone else’s permission. You have the right to make your own decisions about using birth control.
If I go on birth control, will my parents know?
Not if you don’t want them to. Teens have a right to confidentiality when accessing birth control services. Talking to your parents or another trusted adult can be a good idea when it comes to making medical decisions like starting to use birth control, and you may be surprised to hear how supportive they are -- but if you aren’t ready yet or talking to them isn’t possible, here’s what you should know:
- When you go to the clinic or doctor to receive reproductive or sexual health services (like birth control), the doctor or clinician can't tell your parents or guardians. In fact, your doctor is required by law to ask for your consent before releasing any of your information to anyone!
- If you use your parent's or spouse's health insurance to pay your birth control or clinic visit, you need to take an extra step to keep your information private – learn more at myhealthmyinfo.org.
How much does birth control cost?!
- If you have health insurance, your birth control (any method that is right for you) is FREE under California law!
- If you don’t have health insurance and can’t pay on your own:
- You can get birth control for free through something called FamilyPACT, California's family planning program. FamilyPACT services are confidential, and you can sign up for FamilyPACT at a clinic near you. To find a provider call 800-952-1054 or go to www.familypact.org.
- Medi-Cal is a health care program that offers free health care to low-income people in California—including birth control!
- If you're under 21, Medi-Cal only counts the money you earn for yourself, not what your parents earn. You can also qualify for Medi-Cal coverage if you are under 26 and used to be in foster care.
- Medi-Cal services are confidential. To sign up for Medi-Cal, visit www.medi-cal.ca.gov for more information.
Where can I get birth control?
- You can get birth control at your regular doctor, at a family planning clinic, or at a pharmacy!
- You can find a clinic close to you by using the TeenSource Clinic Finder, or by texting the word “clinic” to the Hookup at 877877
- In California, you can now get some types of birth control (like the pill, patch, and ring) prescribed by a pharmacist. Not ALL pharmacies offer this service, but you can find one near you here.
- There are some apps that offer birth control by mail, but these cost more money and you have to pay by credit card.
- As long as you have a safe place to keep your birth control supplies, you have the right to get a 12 month supply of birth control at once! Just ask your doctor.
How do I make an appointment to get birth control?
- Call your doctor or a clinic and let them know if you are a new patient. Be open with the person on the phone about why you need an appointment. It’s their job to help you make the right type of appointment for you!
- Read TeenSource’s tips for visiting a clinic to know what to expect.
- If you have a busy schedule, you have the right to take time off from school for confidential health care appointments without a parent’s permission. Talk with your school counselor or office person ahead of time to learn how to leave campus on your own.
- Hot tip: just like you have the right to access birth control during school hours without the permission of an adult, you also have the right to access mental health counseling, drug treatment, STD prevention services and more! To find out the full list of services available to you as a teen check out TeenHealthRights.org.
The long and short of it? If you are a teen in California you have the right to confidentiality, affordability, and access to birth control.
Now that you know your rights, what makes YOU say #ThxBirthControl? Share this graphic on social media to let the world know that #BirthControlMatters to you and be sure to tag us (@teensourceorg on Instagram and @teensource on Twitter).