This Thanksgiving, we want to say how thankful we are for how far we’ve come, as a country, but especially as Californians, when it comes to access for sexual and reproductive health care.
Did you know that…?
We now have 17 different birth control methods that are all available to teens and young adults. Back in the day, the first oral contraceptive and IUD methods of birth control were developed in the 1960s and were only available to married couples. In 1972 birth control became legal in the US for unmarried women. Over the past several decades, we increased the number of methods, safety and effectiveness of birth control. By 1992, California Minor Consent laws allowed teens to access them confidentially and by the early 2000s, access to these methods expanded rapidly.
- There are now six different options of long-lasting methods of safe and effective birth control. Paraguard and Mirena were made available by 2000. The U.S. FDA has since then added Skyla (2013), Liletta (2015), and now Kyleena (2016), making it easier to choose an option that is right for anyone! The implant, an increasingly popular choice among teens, was available in the 1990s. Learn more about these and other options here.
- In 2014, California passed SB 1053 to make sure that as of January 2016, anyone with health insurance receives full coverage for all contraception methods approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) without delay, denial, or cost, AND starting January 2017, SB 999 took effect, which requires health insurance plans to provide individuals with a covered supply of self-administered birth control for up to 12-months. This means not having to refill your birth control every 30 days!
In the late 1990s, California passed FamilyPACT, which now allows low-income individuals, including teens, to get sex and reproductive health services for free! This includes birth control, STD and HIV testing, and so much more! In its first four years alone, the amount of teens that were able to access free reproductive health care increased by 161%!
Just last year, in January of 2016, comprehensive sex and reproductive health educationbecame a requirement for middle school and high school curriculum, making sure teens know how to stay safe and stay healthy!
Teens also now have the ability to order free condoms by mail! If you don’t have access to a nearby clinic or can’t afford to buy condoms, you can still stay safe through our Condom Access Project (CAP) that lets you order free condoms online!
While we are thankful for the progress made, we have to make sure the promise of these policies and programs are working for all California teens.
If you try to get your method of contraception denied or are asked to pay for it - and/or have your request to get a year’s supply of your birth control method at one time denied, let us know! We can help.
If you are aren’t getting comprehensive sex ed in your school, we want to know about it so we can work with you to get that fixed.
And even though we know we are fortunate to live in California and are grateful for the rights that teens have, we also know that we still have work to do to make sure everyone has access and feels safe enough to get the care they need.
Want to keep the progress going?! Help us by taking this quick survey and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Starbucks gift card!
So this Thanksgiving, take the time to make sure you take advantage of the progress we’ve made and visit a clinic near you!
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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.