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More Teens Seeking Birth Control

It's a touchy subject, but doctors are urging parents and teenagers to open up the lines of communication about birth control. In this week's edition of Nora's Heart Files, we looked into why doctors are seeing more teens visiting their offices.
It's not something many teens want to talk about, and doctors say that's the problem.

"It's always a hard thing to talk about, because teens don't want their parents to know they are having sex", says Kay Durilla, Director of Nursing at the Taylor County Public Health District.

The pill, vaccination, and inter-uterine device can mean big implications for the parent-teen relationship, which is why doctors say it's more important than ever to have that difficult conversation.

"There's a fear every time you put a teen on birth control that they will become more sexually active. And I think that's realistic. But we have to get over that because the most important thing is protection", explains Dr. Anderson, OB-GYN at Abilene Regional Medical Center.

However, across town at the Taylor County Public Health District, nurses say the exam rooms remain empty.

"We couldn't serve the teenagers anymore because they weren't considered confidential anymore. They [now] need parental consent, so the teenagers basically stopped coming to us, and they don't come back very often", Durilla tells us.

And when they come, it's usually too late.

"When they usually do come, it's after mom found out they're sexually active, or after they give birth to their baby and mom makes them get on birth control", explains Durilla.

Though teens can no longer get their hands on prescribed birth control without parental consent, doctors say that shouldn't contribute to the overall climb of teen pregnancy.

"Most of the parents I deal with are very willing and ready to get their teen on contraceptives. And teens are much more aware due to seeing their friends get pregnant", says Dr. Anderson.

It seems doctors and parents alike can all agree that teen pregnancy is a problem that must be addressed.

From the time period of June to November of 2012, there were 68 girls under the age of 18 that gave birth in Abilene hospitals.

Another trend the doctor noticed, teens are turning away from the pill as the preferred form of contraception. Now a hormonal device that's injected in the arm is prescribed most often.
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