“Uber” for Birth Control: Dangerous for Teens
NOVEMBER 6, 2017
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) alerts parents to a dangerous new mobile phone app called Nurx. Dubbed the “Uber for birth control,” Nurx enables teens as young as age 12 to obtain contraceptive and abortive medications including the pill, vaginal ring, Plan B and Ella without parental knowledge or local physician oversight. Sexual activity in adolescence is associated with harmful emotional and physical consequences including depression, suicide, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and sexual exploitation at the hands of abusive boyfriends or sex traffickers. Easy access to contraceptives that bypasses parents and a physician visit, as Nurx does, increases the likelihood of teens experiencing these bad outcomes.
Adolescents are cognitively and emotionally immature. They need parental wisdom and oversight to compensate for their emotional impulsivity and their limited capacity to assess risk. All hormone based contraception has serious potential side effects including stroke and cancer; some increase the chance of contracting an STI. Plan B is embryocidal at certain points in a girl’s menstrual cycle, and Ella works the same way as the abortion pill. All women, especially adolescent women, benefit from a face-to-face encounter with a physician to discuss these risks.
Dr. Patricia Lee June of the ACPeds Board of Directors warns,
“Nurx wrongly excludes those who know the child and her health history best — her parents and her physician, and places the full responsibility for a life-changing healthcare decision on a girl’s shoulders. When it comes to achieving optimal teen health, connected parents – not Smartphones – are paramount.”