Myth #1: You have to get parental consent or have a parent/guardian with you in order to get sexual + reproductive health care services.
- You do NOT need parental permission or have a parent/guardian with you in order to get sexual and reproductive health services at family planning clinics. We hope you are able to talk with your parents about sex, including taking care of your sexual health, but not everyone is able to go to their parents for many different reasons. That’s why there are laws in the state of California that protect your privacy and allow you to get health services - like pregnancy testing, abortion services, or STD testing and treatment, even when you are under 18.
Myth #2: You can’t go to a clinic during school hours – schools require a parent note to excuse you.
- In California, you have the right to be excused from school in order to get sexual and reproductive services WITHOUT your parents’ or guardians’ permission. In other words, your school MUST excuse you if you have an appointment at the clinic. Your school cannot notify your parent about excusing you and they cannot require you to present a note from your parent or guardian.
Myth #3: Your doctor will notify your parent or guardian about any services that you received.
- In California, you have the right to confidential sexual and reproductive health services - meaning no one other than yourself will know about what services you received. Any doctor that treats you is required by law to keep your information private. BUT, if you use your parent or guardian’s health insurance to pay for any services, then you’ll have to contact your health insurance and tell them to send all sensitive information about health services you received directly to you. This is called a Confidential Communications Request. Visitmyhealthmyinfo.org for more information.
Myth #4: You have to have health insurance in order to access sexual and reproductive health services at family planning clinics.
- NO! If you don't have health insurance and can't pay on your own, you have options! California's family planning program Family PACT will pay for many sexual health services (not including abortion) if you don't have other insurance. You may also qualify for Medi-Cal, California's state and federally funded public health insurance. Learn more here about your options if you don't already have health insurance to pay for your sexual and reproductive health care.
Looking for clinics near you?
Visit Find a Clinic OR text CLINIC + your zip code to 877877.
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.