Most states have laws requiring health care providers to notify parents (or obtain their consent) when providing abortion services to teens. A new study published online in The Journal of Health Economics finds such “parental involvement” (or PI) laws have no significant impact in reducing risky sexual behavior and STI rates among youth.
STI rates are sky-high among young people: about half of the 20 million new STIs in the U.S. each year occur in those ages 15-24. Commenting in a press release on the fact PI laws don’t affect these rates, study co-author Silvie Colman, Ph.D., said “If states want to reduce STIs, they should consider other measures or policy approaches.”
So what should be done to reduce teen STI rates? ASHA believes this includes providing comprehensive sexual health education in schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Access to reproductive health services is important, too.
What about mom and dad? They absolutely have a HUGE role to play, perhaps the most critical one of all! We encourage parents to talk with their kids about sexual health, ideally early (most American youth become sexually active in their teen years). ASHA has resources just for parents to start the conversation, and make it effective:
Reference: S Colman , T Dee, and T Joyce. Do parental involvement laws deter risky teen sex? Journal of Health Economics, 2013. 32(5):873-880.
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