Under-Age Birth Control Essay

1165 Words 5 Pages
Considering the Ethics of Under-Age Birth Control
Introduction
A 16-year-old girl visits a birth control clinic and asks to be put on the pill. Since she is a minor, the clinic doctor who writes the prescription for her notifies her parents of the action. As of the year 2016, there are only 26 states that allow minors (12 years and older) to obtain contraceptives without parental consent. There are 20 states that allow certain minors to obtain contraceptives without parental consent and those include minors that are married or who have already been pregnant. Four states have no laws on parental consent (Gutimacher Institute, 2016). This ethical controversy leaves room for an open interruption of whether or not minors should need parental consent
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Just because individuals are human they have the same rights and values as every other human being. These rights include freedom, autonomy, and privacy. The downside to this theory is that it can create “individualistic selfish behavior” (Fremgen, 2016, p. 11).
Parental involvement in the minor’s sexual health decisions would go against the minor’s rights of making autonomous decisions about their healthcare (Girma and Paton, 2013). Everyone is entitled to privacy so disclosing information to their parents would go against their confidentiality. Under the rights based approach there would be no parental consent because the minors have the right to make their own decisions. Many have argued that granting minors the autonomy to make the decision of using contraceptive goes against parental authority thus risking the minor’s health and development (Manian,
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It would be the physician’s duty to enforce these rules. In Minnesota and Louisiana physicians have to get informed consent from the minor’s parents or legal guardian (Guttmacher Institute, 2016). Going against these laws would be going against the moral rules and the standards of care.
Justice- Based
This ethical theory is based on “the veil of ignorance”. This meaning that decisions professionals make would not be based on factors such as an individual’s socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or wealth. This principle justifies that no one person should not have advantage over another, and every decision or treatment must be fair and equal to all. The weakness to this theory is that “it is unfair for the healthy to subsidize the unhealthy” (Fremgen, 2016, p. 12). To apply the “veil of ignorance” patients who walk into a health clinic would ask for birth control without having to reveal their age. This would be considered fair distribution because it would not create bias against minors. They would have the same opportunities as someone who is of legal age.

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