Thanks so much to Heather Corinna from Scarleteen for this information.
Planned Parenthood is now dispensing the pill without a pelvic exam. You can read more about it.
This is a relatively unusual program. Planned Parenthood’s requirements are that you do not have:
- certain conditions that make it inadvisable to use a hormonal method [of birth control]
- symptoms that must be evaluated with a pelvic exam
Now, there is some argument against getting yearly pap smears, for reasons of cost and the potential of false positive results of pre-cancerous cells. However, Heather suggested to me that Planned Parenthood is providing the pill without a pelvic exam simply in order to reach young women who are scared of their first pelvic exam, and are using that as an excuse to not use birth control. There is no indication on the PP website of why they have decided to stop requiring a pelvic exam.
For tomorrow: much discussion about the new CDC findings that teen pregnancy rates have started rising for the first time since 1991. (Yes, you are free to go into the appropriate tizzy of outrage at this information. While you wait for my comments, there’s lots to read about it: here and here and here are good places to start.)
It sounds to me like this policy is misguided. Pelvic exams are an important part of taking care of your body. Birth control pills are powerful, potentially dangerous drugs that shouldn’t be dispensed without the free flow of information from both sides.
Besides, they should be using condoms anyway, and you don’t need a prescription for those (although you may need to find a drugstore that doesn’t keep them under lock and key).
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