POLITICS

Bristol Palin Freaks Out About Girls Getting Free Birth Control

Programs like the one Palin criticizes are immensely successful in preventing teen pregnancy.

Bristol Palin thinks it's "crazy" for states to provide young women with birth control options free of charge. 

In a Wednesday blog post, Palin cited a report touted by conservative news sites over the summer about a Washington state high school providing IUDs and hormone implants to students without parental notification or consent. This week, the conservative group Judicial Watch followed up on those reports by releasing a document showing the state's Health Care Authority provided hormone implants to girls ranging in age from 10 to 20 years old.

"Do you remember what it was like to be a 10 year old? I remember being an unabashed tomboy concerned with playing outside and acing 5th grade," Palin wrote. "But life isn't so innocent and carefree for some 10 years old in Washington State."

She continued, "It is crazy that the government is offering a controversial form of birth control that can have serious life-long side effects to 10-year-old CHILDREN, but then to do all of this behind a parent's back is simply outrageous!"  

Washington, along with 25 other states and the District of Columbia, does not require minors to have parental consent to obtain birth control. Additionally, research has shown that IUDs are just as safe for teenagers to use as they are for adults, and studies haven't found any impact on long-term fertility. 

Programs like the one in Washington state have been immensely successful in preventing teen pregnancy. As the New York Times reported in July, Colorado implemented a six-year program to distribute free long-acting reversible contraceptives to teenagers and young women. From 2009 to 2013, the state's birthrate among teens declined 40 percent, while the teen abortion rate dropped 42 percent.

IUDs and hormone implants are also the most effective forms of contraceptives, with a failure rate of less than one percent. Oral contraceptives, meanwhile, have a failure rate of 9 percent, while condoms fail about 18 percent of the time.

"The vulnerability of the teenage population is what makes LARCs so wonderful," Dr. Eduardo Lara-Torre, a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' board, told Jezebel in March. "Teenagers tend to not be great planners, and having a method that's reliable, appropriate for their age, safe, long-acting and reversible makes birth control so much easier for them."

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