Fox21News: One Colorado Springs clinic is offering kids as young as 12 access to the Plan B pill without any parental consent.
That clinic is a division of Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora and offers services to 12 to 24 year olds. It’s a BC4U clinic – meaning “Birth Control For You.”
Tax dollars are helping to fund clinics like these.
Under Colorado state law, children are allowed to see reproductive health services without parental consent.
The children are able to get IUDs (Intrauterine Devices), birth control pills and the Plan B pill for free – all without their parents even knowing.
According to the hospital, the clinic’s primary mission is to “reduce” unintended pregnancies in young women.
“This is a children’s hospital, you can’t have children without parents,” said a veteran physician on the staff of Children’s Hospital who wished to remain anonymous. “Parents who have rights who want to be involved especially with dangerous life changing events like getting pregnant.
“These youngsters need protection,” the physician added. “They need parental protection their brains are like jello”.
Children’s Hospital Colorado said it’s very sensitive around the issue of confidentiality and ultimately their greatest concern is the safety of young people. The hospital also said generally 13 year olds come to the clinic with their mother or family member.
When a child does come alone, Children’s Hospital Colorado said they spend a lot of time talking about the purpose of their visit. They also ask the child if the parents know they are there and if the parent is not aware, they discuss what it would be like to talk with their parent or guardian about the visit.
The veteran staff doctor said that’s not enough. “Even if no parents are in the picture, the teen’s physician who knows the patient should be part of the decision making process”.
Colorado law gives minors the option to not tell their parents. That even includes when they visit their own pediatrician, but at least when they go to their pediatrician’s office, the parent receives a bill reflecting a visit. When a child goes to the adolescent clinic, there is no record of the visit and the parent knows nothing.
We got in touch with Congressman Doug Lamborn about the clinics. He’s been in opposition of the Plan B pill for years. “One of my biggest concerns is the parents not being involved in these decisions,” Congressman Lamborn said. “Parents need to be involved. They know their children better than anyone else and they are responsible for their children”.
Whether you agree or not with the law or what the clinic has to offer, you are partially paying for it.
Children’s Hospital Colorado said the clinic has two funding sources, Title X federal dollars and grant funding from the Colorado Family Planning Initiative.
“I’m really concerned if any federal dollars are associated with this, it leaves parents out of the way,” Lamborm said. “This is a free, partially government funded anonymous, no accountability clinic,” added the physician.
Children’s Hospital Colorado said the funding pays for the free birth control including the Plan B pill.
A quick google search of “Free birth control, Colorado Springs” brings you to the clinics website bc4u.org. Children’s Hospital Colorado said the site serves as an educational resource for reproductive health. It’s often the first place a patient goes to get more information on how they can engage in safe sexual activity.
When we found the site, the bottom of the page read, “A clinic dedicated to you if you’re between the ages of 12 and 25.” “How can they expect the mental ability of a child to understand what’s going on compared to a 25-year-old at the clinic,” said the physician.
When we clicked on the lifestyle tab, we found a post that read “before you hit that, see us first.” That was next to a photo of two half-naked teens. We also found a slide show for 64 sexual positions.
Additionally, when we clicked on the link to their Pinterest page we found boards entitled “Be 4 u bump uglies” and “be 4 u knock boots.” Further clicking took us to an article entitled “8 ways to practice safe sexting.”
We called Children’s Hospital Colorado to ask about what we found. We asked if they were comfortable with these messages being marketed to 12-13 or 14 year olds. Their reply: “Bc4u makes it a strong part of our practice to talk with young people about safe sexual behavior.”
When asked about the 64 sex position slide show, they answered: “Bc4u makes it a strong part of our practice to talk with young people about safe sexual behavior.”
We followed up asking “ How does a slide show of 64 sexual positions encourage young people to engage in safe sexual behavior?” They never answered our question.
Children’s Hospital Colorado told FOX21 News the site is managed by the BC4U team and an outside marketing firm. Within one hour of our phone call, the majority of the links we questioned were removed.
We asked if they removed the content because of our phone call. They replied, “ Based on feedback from clinicians, clients, parents and members of the public, website content is updated on a regular basis.”
The wording at the bottom of the page was changed to read, “If you’re under 25” instead of 12 to 24.
Children’s Hospital Colorado said they made those changes to reflect the fact that nearly all of the site’s visitors are 15 or older, with the majority over 20.
The hospital released the clinics demographics to us from 2013. They show 64 percent of clients are over 20, 13 percent of their clients are 15 to 17 year olds and less than 1 percent are 13 to 14 year olds.
The last question we asked Children’s Hospital Colorado surrounded the topic of complications after administering the Plan B pill or other birth control.
Under Colorado law, a doctor must have parental permission to see a child for a health treatment such as an injury or cold or flu. An exception in the law covers reproductive services.
So if a child has an allergic reaction to the pill and needs medical help would they now need parental consent?
Children’s Hospital Colorado responded saying, “All adverse reactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the healthcare provider, taking into consideration the confidentiality and privacy concerns of the patient.”
In accordance with state and federal law, minors have a right to consent to contraceptive services. Consent, by definition, includes nature of treatment, benefits, alternatives, risks and complications.
Additional doctors we spoke with outside Children’s Hospital Colorado said in their opinion that’s a loose interpretation of consent.
One thing Children’s Hospital Colorado clinics will not do is perform abortions. They refer those patients to a clinic in Denver.