When I first talked with my parents about going to see a gynecologist and getting prescribed birth control pills, they freaked out. I was almost 17 years old and in a serious, long-term relationship. But the response I got was that I was being irresponsible just for having sex, and birth control was a no-go. A few months later, I had a pregnancy scare. I was lucky, but some young women aren’t.
Many parents are faced with a tough decision, especially when religion plays a part, about whether or not to allow their teenage daughters to get a prescription for contraceptive pills. And these parents ask themselves the same question mine did: “How young is too young?”
I’m not a doctor, but I know that there is a huge difference between the girls who had parents that were open to discussing sexual health with their daughters and the parents who didn’t. The ones who learned healthy sexual habits—including using birth control and practicing safe sex—are the ones who have escaped STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Those of us who were taught the “abstinence-only” approach have had to learn about sex the hard way, and many of us have suffered the consequences.
So, how young is too young for birth control? There is no medical answer. Some organizations have information on contraceptive pills available that is teen specific and outline a variety of benefits that adolescents can reap from birth control that go beyond pregnancy prevention.
It comes down to a purely parental decision, but what parents must keep in mind is that realistic education is best for their daughters. Keeping open lines of communication and being honest can save your daughters from negative effects that last a lifetime.