Does a 15-year-old in Texas need parental consent to get birth control pills?

·2 min read

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Contraceptives remain legal in Texas following the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade on June 24.

The right to contraceptives was granted in Griswold v. Connecticut for married couples and Eisenstadt v. Baird for unmarried couples. In the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the decisions made in those cases were not in question, however Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should reconsider those precedents as well.

One Star-Telegram reader asked about birth control access for teenagers post-Roe v. Wade. Here is what we found out.

Q: “How hard is it for a 15-year-old to get birth control pills? Can minors go to their family doctor and get a prescription?” - F.T.

A prescription is needed for certain birth control methods including pills, patches and IUDs. A prescription can be given by a doctor at their office or at a health care facility such as Title X and Planned Parenthood clinics.

Pharmacists can write a prescription for birth control pills at places like CVS with no prior doctor visit necessary, however this is only available for those ages 18 and older.

In Texas, those under 18 are required to obtain parental or guardian consent to receive prescription birth control at most clinics including Planned Parenthood.

Q: “What is the prescription cost?”

Prescription costs for birth control pills can range from $0 to $50 depending on insurance coverage. According to Planned Parenthood, the prescription is free with most health insurance plans or through government programs like Medicaid.

Prescription costs for one pack of birth control patches can range from $0 to $150 depending on insurance coverage.

Getting an IUD can range from $0 to $1,300 with free or low-cost options available through some health insurance plans, Medicaid and other government plans, according to Planned Parenthood.

An appointment with a doctor is needed before a birth control prescription can be given, which costs money outside potential prescription costs. Planned Parenthood estimates a doctor’s visit could range from $35–$250, however insurance plans may cover the visit.

Q: “Is the doctor required to notify the parents or need parents’ permission?”

At Planned Parenthood clinics, consent must be given before receiving birth control pills, shot, implant or IUD.

Consent from a parent or guardian is not needed if the minor is insured by Medicaid or if they are emancipated.

Title X Family Planning Program clinics, funded by the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs, provides care for anyone, including those insured by Medicaid or those who are uninsured. In 2019, 41% of Title X clinic patients were uninsured and 38% were enrolled in public insurance programs like Medicaid, according to the Office of Population Affairs.

While minors can receive reproductive care at Title X clinics, the Texas Family Code requires that services must comply with parental consent requirements for minors, according to Texas Health and Human Services.