Illinois action blog

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Teens, Know Your Rights!

Pop quiz – if you’re under the age of 18 in Illinois, which of these can you access without the need for parental consent?
- Contraception and pregnancy testing
- STI testing and treatment (if you’re over the age of 12)
- Abortion care
- All of the above
 
If you’re surprised to learn that the answer is #4, you’re in good company. According to a recent study by the University of Chicago Medical Center, many teens are unaware of the reproductive rights guaranteed to them by state law. Researchers surveyed a focus group of teen girls with a median age of 15 and found that 40% were unaware of their ability to obtain contraception without a parent and 18% didn’t know that they could obtain STI services – and a whopping 60% didn’t know that they could obtain abortion care without parental permission. While the authors of the study acknowledged that their respondents aren’t a representation of all Illinois teens, the survey’s findings still show that more can be done to educate teenagers on their reproductive rights.

While we here at Planned Parenthood firmly believe in the importance of parent-teen communication when it comes to sex, we also believe that it’s important for teens to know what they’re entitled to in terms of their reproductive health. These laws are in place in order to protect teens and to ensure timely health care access. A lack of knowledge is one of the biggest barriers teens face when it comes to caring for their health – and one that’s easily fixable. Parents, talking to your kids about how to make smart, healthy sexual decisions can make a big difference. And teens, why not brush up on your knowledge of reproductive rights?  Planned Parenthood is here to help.  Check out our education department to learn more.
Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, teens

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