Ever since the mainstream introduction of the pill back in the 1960s, the issue of contraceptives and the permissions and regulations surrounding them have been at the forefront of health and social debate. Originally invented as a way for married women and mothers to be able to control the size of their families, with the loosening of sexual politics and progression of generational culture, the pill is now widely distributed to females of all ages, not just for means of birth control but also for the treatment and appeasement of several different feminine health issues.
Whilst there is no doubting that contraceptives have changed the landscape of the world, both culturally and politically, one of the biggest questions and topics of debate that is still present today is the issue of whether teenagers should be required to get permission from their parents or guardians in order to obtain the pill. This essay aims to take a look at some of the reasons why this form of control from parental figures should be seen as a potentially dangerous and harmful thing.
One of the most important factors to consider in the debate over getting permission to obtain contraceptives is the fact that this kind of control will only really apply to teenage girls, not teenage boys. For example, if a 17-year-old male expresses a desire to purchase contraception, all he has to do is visit the nearest pharmacy and pick up a packet of condoms. For a responsible female of the same age, requiring parental permission makes this process entirely more difficult and potentially damaging to family relationships. The discrepancy in control between the two sexes is something that should be seen as a slippery slope, in its most extreme form of description, one could argue that instituting a rule like this is tantamount to taking external control of what a girl does with her body but giving a boy the freedom to do as he pleases, simply because his most common form of contraception doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription.
Another significant factor to consider around this debate is the fact that teenage girls and teenage couples will risk getting themselves in to trouble simply because of the fact that parents cannot accept their sexual maturation. As the majority of adults across the world can attest, trying to stifle or reverse a feeling of sexual maturity is completely pointless, and attempts to do so by parents and guardians who don’t want their daughters to enter the next stage of her life can lead to unfortunate and unwanted consequences. For example, a teenage girl who is denied permission to go on the pill will most likely have sexual intercourse regardless, and the lack of safety and provisions under which this encounter might take place could lead to pregnancy – a teenage pregnancy that could have been completely prevented with the appropriate access to contraception. Condoms are certainly an effective form of practising safe sex, but when there is a further option to guard oneself from unwanted consequences, it should not be prevented on the whim of a parent.
Overall, it is clear, from a personal viewpoint at least, that requiring teenagers to get permission from their parents to obtain contraceptives is a regressive idea. Parents trying to delay the sexual maturation of their children is a battle as old as time, and one that would see adults imposing their will on situations that do not involve them. Teenagers need freedom to pave their own paths without interference from parents with ulterior motives.