Our Youth Leadership Council are using their voice, and we are listening. Teens said loud and clear, confidentiality is a serious barrier to accessing reproductive health care in Okanogan County and national reports are reinforcing their message: “one in five 15-17 year-olds would not seek sexual and reproductive health care because of concerns their parents may find out.” In Okanogan County, with limited health care options serving small communities and no dedicated family planning clinic, teens face an uphill battle to confidentiality. While many teens have told us about getting great reproductive health services at local clinics, some teens have reported reminder phone calls going to their family’s voicemail, providers turning youth away unless they have a parent present, and front desk staff who don’t know about confidential billing options.
And we are responding. In partnership with local clinics and our Youth Leadership Council, Room One created a Know Your Rights card designed to help youth access reproductive health care. The fold out cards have information on a youth’s right to confidential health care, free and low-cost billing options, tips for talking to a provider, choosing the right form of birth control and more. Paired with increased training for clinic staff, the Know Your Rights card will help youth be bold advocates for their own health -- all a part of reducing Okanogan County’s high rate of teen pregnancy. Look for the cards at your local clinic, share them with teens you know!