Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


New study shows teens want contraceptive privacy

Young girls in Wisconsin say they will quit going to Planned Parenthood if their parents were notified of contraceptives prescribed, according to a recent study.

Forty-seven percent of girls surveyed said if parental notification were mandated, they would stop using all health-care services.

Wisconsin and nine other states have considered legislation that would mandate informing parents if their children are seeking prescription contraceptives.

In 1999, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, authored a notification bill that championed a parent’s right to know about his or her children’s sexual activity. The bill was held in committee, but the Legislature is considering bringing the bill back for discussion.

According to the study, 99 percent of the girls polled said they would keep having unprotected sex or use condoms if they couldn’t get prescribed contraceptives.

The survey was funded by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, grants from UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Urban Initiatives and Research and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

The study results were based on a 1999 poll of 950 girls at 33 Planned Parenthood clinics across the state. All girls surveyed were under the age of 18 and completed the survey as they waited for appointments.

Paige Shipman, spokesman for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said she believes the survey showcases the importance of free and confidential access to birth control.

“This study shows what Planned Parenthood has long known,” Shipman said. “If health care is not confidential, young women will not seek the care they need.”

Shipman cited results showing a majority of respondents would rather not use Planned Parenthood or birth control and instead use condoms rather than have their parents notified.

“These results are disconcerting and not surprising,” she said. “It shows that it is critical to keep health service confidential.”

Critics claim the survey results could be skewed because Planned Parenthood funded the poll.

“I would like to know who did the survey,” said Rep. Carol Owens, R-Oshkosh. “Did they go to the prisons and the juvenile detention centers to find these girls?”

Owens said she believes that because parents are responsible for their children until they are 18, they have a right to know their actions and behavior.

“My guess is that the survey is probably skewed in some way; it is not a very fair cross-section,” Owens said. “There are so many great kids out there who would not go behind their parent’s back to do something like that.”

Owens said a better solution is for children to talk to their parents about their actions. If a parent is not available, Owens suggests a pastor or teacher as a potential confidant.

Shipman said she agrees that teens should be talking with their parents about sex.

“We encourage parents to talk to their children about sex. Planned Parenthood even has classes designed to educate parents on how to be more involved,” she said.

“We encourage communication. It is critical for people to be informed about their sexual health and for families to talk,” Shipman said. “But you can’t legislate a perfect family, and we are here for that.”

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