A new research study is looking to provide birth control over-the-counter, without a doctor’s supervision — and children are being recruited for it.
According to CNS News, Advocates for Youth, which works with Planned Parenthood, sent out a mass e-mail with the subject line, “Know anyone ages 11-15 to join this study?” The e-mail was promoting The Pill Study, through which researchers are looking to make birth control available from a pharmacy, but without a prescription — essentially, over-the-counter. The study’s website also confirmed that girls as young as 11 are eligible to participate.
Participants who qualify will make an appointment at a participating pharmacy, where they will receive the birth control. The study also will remain fully confidential, so a child’s parents will have no clue that their daughter is receiving dangerous contraception and potentially having sex at such a young age. On top of that, the study will pay participants $75, further incentivizing children to sign up.
There is not a single state in the entire country in which an 11-year-old can legally consent to sex.
Equally disturbing is the idea that a child would be able to get birth control without their parents’ knowledge and without a doctor’s supervision. Under those circumstances, it seems unlikely, if not impossible, that the child in question would be adequately counseled about the potential risks associated with hormonal birth control.
Studies have found that birth control can negatively impact women’s mental health, with high depression rates found specifically in teen girls. One study even found that women using hormonal birth control have triple the risk of suicide than women not using hormonal birth control. Other known risks include pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke, numerous cancers, potential infertility, and more. That doesn’t even include any potential contraindications.
A child as young as 11 or 12 could not be relied upon to give a pharmacist a thorough medical history. Just last year, a college student’s family was awarded $9 million after she died. The student, Hope Johnson, was prescribed contraception even though she was at high risk of developing blood clots. A month later, Johnson tragically died.
It’s beyond inappropriate, not to mention dangerous, for children to be encouraged to join a research study, where they will be paid to receive birth control, without being seen by a doctor, and without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
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