Nexplanon

A model holds a Nexplanon birth control hormonal implant in 2015.

A bill filed in the Maryland House of Delegates could restrict how minors get access to some contraceptive devices.

House bill 53 would make it so minors across the state would need parental permission before they could get an intrauterine device (IUD) or the implantable rod, a type of birth control that goes into the arm.

Currently, Maryland law says minors have the same right as adults to consent to medical treatment or advice about contraception other than sterilization.

The bill would not target all types of contraception. The birth control pill and the birth control patch, which are not considered invasive, would not need parental permission under the bill.

Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington), who sponsored the bill, said it is the result of an incident in Baltimore where a minor received a Nexplanon implant that was improperly placed without parental permission. The 16-year-old girl had medical issues from the implant, and her mother did not know what was causing them because she did not know about the implant, Parrott said.

“That story was very disturbing,” he said.

The bill is meant to be narrow, he said, and Parrott is open to making it more narrow, focusing only on school-based health centers if that would be appropriate, he said.

"The issue really is parents having no knowledge at all," Parrott said. "And then seeing that their daughter had a minor surgery, and then, you know, it is the case here, was pretty horrific."

The bill would not apply to non-invasive forms of birth control, like the pill, he said. 

The Baltimore case is what also drew Del. Lauren Arikan (R-Baltimore and Harford) to co-sponsor the bill. Like Parrott, she said that there are other non-invasive birth control methods.

"There’s other forms of birth control that are less invasive … this really focuses on things that are really invasive … not that oral birth control doesn’t cause real issues, [but] this is specifically for things that have serious health concerns," Arikan said.

Sponsoring the bill is personal for Del. Ric Metzgar (R-Baltimore), he said. His wife had side effects from the rod implant, he said.

His personal opinion is that mothers should be with their daughters when birth control is discussed. He did not think a bill requiring parental permission would restrict access to birth control.

“Young people are going to do what they are going to do,” Metzgar said.

All forms of contraception will have some side effects and risks, said Margaret Manning, community health nurse with the Frederick County Health Department.

The pill, which has been around for a long time, is a mix of hormones, Manning said. Women can get it from their general practitioner or their gynecologist. There are many different combinations of hormones for the pill, she said.

With the pill, people can experience breakthrough bleeding, headaches and bloating, as well as nausea, symptoms that can happen in the beginning but often go away with use.

There are also long-acting reversible contraceptives, like IUDs and the arm implant. Those are the ones targeted by the House bill.

With the IUD, there can be extra bleeding after the insertion, Manning said. The arm implant can also lead to extra bleeding, said Miriam Dobson, director of the health department’s Community Health Services.

Those with higher blood pressure and underlying health conditions can experience adverse effects from birth control, Dobson said.

The health department cannot offer opinions on the bill, Dobson said, as it must remain neutral and speculative.

The state legislative session began Wednesday so it is too early to tell how the bill will do. Parrott will be speaking with other delegates and state senators. He plans on seeing if there is a senator willing to cross file a similar bill.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at hmongilio@newspost.com.

(12) comments

sue1955

Public, you are just trying to troll me. If memory serves me correctly, you've done that in the past. The first thing I said is that I'm "for" sex education. I have no problem with it being taught in the schools. I am not of the mind that believes that such classes encourage sexual behavior in minors or gives the school children any "ideas."

public-redux

How am I trying to troll you?

sue1955

Your 6:59 P.M. comment is nitpicking just for the sake of wanting to argue. I really don't understand your point in apparently negating what I had to say. I was really adding to Gabe's thoughts. As such, I was not disagreeing with him. BTW, I enjoy Gabe's commentary. I like what he has to say.

rbtdt5

If the teen is paying then that's all that matters. If it's being charged to the parents health care they should know about it.

DickD

There certainly are a lot of ways to avoid pregnancy. More than I knew.

public-redux

And probably more than the average teen knows. Which is why comprehensive sex education ought to implemented everywhere.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed public. The level of information conveyed by parents to their kids is underwhelming. Some fear that if their kids gain knowledge, they will engage in casual sex. This is so silly. In the Netherlands, sex education begins early, around first grade, and continues all through high school. The result is a much lower rate of teenage pregnancy, and casual sex partners. Some parents in the US believe it is their job and not schools, yet they fail to do their job, resulting in costs to the rest of society.

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2017/12/the-netherlands-has-lowest-rate-of-teenage-mothers-in-the-eu/

https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/adolescent-pregnancy-and-its-outcomes-across-countries

sue1955

Gabe, I'm all for sex education. But, look at all the girls/young women who get pregnant for various reasons that have nothing to do with them wanting birth control. Not to mention, the boys/young men who look at babies (and children, in general) as something that somebody else (and/or welfare) is going to take care of. This is largely a cultural issue. The general public does not typically want to acknowledge this, but nevertheless, it's the truth. Also; look at the issue from the crime the attitudes and lifestyle comes into it. Virtually all of the articles in the news where the mothers (of the criminals) speak out, fathers are not mentioned. It is the same old story.

Back in my working years, I've known families (co-workers) who do not believe in birth control and fully encourage and accept new babies. Grandmothers and mothers end up raising the children. And, the grandmothers fully support the boys and young men no matter what the situation.

gabrielshorn2013

You do have a valid point sue, and that is another aspect of the problem. You don't see such behavior in those countries that stress sex ed, birth control, AND responsibility, such as the Netherlands and Switzerland as stated in the references.

public-redux

Sue, be that as it may, the subset of the population that isn’t interested in birth control doesn’t negate the need for comprehensive sex education. Not everyone is interested mathematics but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach math.

public-redux

You comment brings to mind the “but rule”, which holds that the words preceding “but” aren’t true.

FCPS-Principal

This is a great idea. If passed it will definitely lead to more abortions for minors. Or more minors with babies. Take your pick. Evangelicals no doubt prefer the latter.

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