California has many laws that protect teen’s rights to access FREE and confidential birth control and other reproductive services. Although having a trusted adult to confide in is highly recommended, you don’t actually need an adult’s permission to get birth control, STD testing, and other services.
Still, it can be hard for teens to access these services.
In many communities, clinics are far away and/or hard to get to. Between school, home, and extracurricular activities, or a job – it can be challenging to get to a clinic to get the health care you need, when you need it.
There are some websites and phone apps that try to solve this issue by providing birth control and STD services, but not all health insurance plans cover services provided outside of a clinic setting, and paying out of pocket for the convenience is too expensive for most teens – and a credit card is required. It’s also currently not possible for teens who get their free and confidential birth control and STD care through the Family PACT program. So even though these services are out there, many teens still can’t use them.
WHAT IS SB 1023?
This year, Senator Ed Hernandez from Los Angeles introduced a bill, SB 1023, in the California State Senate. The bill, if passed and signed into law, would increase access to sexual and reproductive health services, including birth control and STD testing, prevention, and treatment, at your fingertips and on your phone through an app or consultation with a provider by video or a call. SB 1023 seeks to make it clear that health insurance companies can cover sexual and reproductive health services provided remotely. It also seeks to require Family PACT to make these services available for people enrolled in the program on their phones!
WHY IT MATTERS
Thanks to the many laws and programs available in California, fewer and fewer teens are experiencing unintended pregnancies. Ninety-five percent of unintended pregnancies happen because people don’t use birth control. Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STDs) are also more common than ever. California has the highest rates in the country for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections, and teens experience more than half of all new STD cases. That’s why it’s so important for teens to have fast and easy access to care to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs.
Contact your state representatives and urge them to support SB 1023!
You don’t have to wait until you’re old enough to vote to make a difference.
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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.