Our daughter has been on birth control pills since she was 16. Many girls like Molly are prescribed birth control pills not to prevent conception, but to correct irregular periods and heavy menstrual bleeding. Our family has a health history of heavy period issues. I have had several bleeding issues in pregnancy and lost two stillborn children. I have never used birth control, but other family members had with poor results.
I told our daughter that if we took her to the doctor, she would very likely be prescribed a birth control pill. She didn’t really want to go that route. She had heard family members horror stories and those of friends who’d taken birth control pills prescribed for heavy or irregular periods. But she was only 16; a hard age to make health care decisions. She held down a hostess job at Applebee’s, got excellent grades, volunteered at our local museum and also took ballet and jazz classes. Her period was complicating many issues in her life. She wanted relief, if possible,
Before you say, as a parent, ‘I wouldn’t allow my teen daughter go on a birth control pill!’, know this. Your underage daughter doesn’t need your permission to go on the pill. I was informed of this when we visited the doctor for help with her heavy menstrual bleeding.
When Molly came out from the examining room, she said, ‘Well, you were right, mom’, and handed me the prescription. She said that when the physician discussed the birth control pills with her, Molly asked if she could talk it over with mom first. The physician told her that it wasn’t necessary, as parental permission wasn’t required. Molly was told that she didn’t even have to inform her parents that she was taking the birth control pills.
How’s that for a nice kick in the parental rear end? Who pays for the birth control pills? Who deals with the family insurance issues? And worst of all, who stands by that child’s side when the birth control pills create health problems of their own? I spoke with several friends that work in health care and was told that theoretically the doctor was correct, that parents cannot prevent their daughters from taking birth control pills. They did add that the doctor did overstep her bounds by discouraging Molly from even discussing the issue with us. We decided that it wasn’t in anyone’s best interests to call the doctor on it. At 16, a girl is learning to make her own decisions. I decided that if she chose to go on the birth control pill, it was her decision.
We researched to find out about the side effects; we found that according to some of the better known health websites like the World Health Organization and Mayo Clinic, the doctor’s information had been cursory at best and negligent in some respects. Why are the majority of physicians so eager to prescribe birth control pills for teenagers?