Parental notification for contraception does not increase teen pregnancy

Communities Digital News 5 March 2014
For decades, pro-choice lobbyists have fought any legislation that puts parents between minors and the so-called reproductive healthcare services sold by chains like Planned Parenthood. One argument was that parental notification laws would cause adolescents to avoid or delay “necessary” reproductive and sexual healthcare, resulting in increased teen pregnancies and, in turn, abortions. However, a major new study dramatically undercuts that argument.

According to Guttmacher, “55 percent of parents participating in a 2002 survey said that overall, proposed laws requiring that parents be notified before their minor children obtain prescription contraceptives are a good idea,” but 96 percent also feared that unintended consequences may include an increase in teen pregnancies.

Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham—an institution ranked in the top one percent of schools worldwide—found no evidence that mandatory parental consent laws for the dispensing of contraceptives to minors drive up teen pregnancy.

Sourafel Girma, chair of economics at the School of Economics in Nottingham University, and David Paton, chair of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, published “Does Parental Consent for Birth Control Affect Underage Pregnancy Rates? The Case of Texas” in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Demography.

Paton, an expert on teen pregnancy and a member of three editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals, told CDN, “The reason for looking at Texas is that it is one of the few cases in the world where a parental consent rule has been implemented and so it is one of the few places on which it was possible to test the impact of such rules on teenage pregnancy.”