Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Texas Again Leads the Way?

By Brian Dixon

Texas once again shows the folly of allowing right wing ideology to substitute for good health policy. It has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country and the highest rate of repeat births to teenagers. It is also a state where it is very difficult for teenagers to get birth control.

According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, many doctors in the Dallas region refuse to prescribe contraceptives to teenagers without parental consent. Experts believe that Dallas policy requiring parental consent for birth control at ten school based health centers also applies to them – even though it doesn’t.

Not even young parents can get birth control confidentially – leading to the fact that Dallas leads the nation in repeat teenage pregnancy. Here is real evidence that parental consent rules are utterly counterproductive.

Sadly, a number of conservative organizations and lawmakers are pushing for federal legislation imposing this failed approach on the entire nation. When, and if, health reform comes to the full House and Senate, you can expect many amendments to limit access to reproductive health services for young people – and indeed for all Americans.

Those lawmakers need to hear from you that ideology can’t substitute for evidence when it comes to health policy and that young people need access to confidential family planning services.

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