Bill seeks to require parental consent

Rep. Marilyn Ruestman

Rep. Marilyn Ruestman

A local representative has lent her support to a bill that would prohibit minors from attaining prescriptive contraceptive drugs or devices without adult consent.

House Majority Caucus Secretary Marilyn Ruestman (R-McDonald County) co-sponsored a bill introduced by Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-St. Charles).

The bill would not prohibit minors from receiving birth control that is not prescriptive.

“We’re not going to stop young people from having sex, but at least we can make it safe for them,” Ruestman said.

Her main concern was for those drugs and shots that would have long-term effects on individuals taking them.

“Some prescriptions have a lot of hormones and there may be side effects a minor doesn’t really know about,” Ruestman said. “I don’t think males or females are adults, even at the age of 17.”

She feels that some minors do not understand the full extent of some of the side effects that some prescriptions have, not just physically but hormonally, as well, since their bodies are still developing. And with all of the problems recently with certain birth controls effecting women’s bone density and other serious health problems, Ruestman believes a minor would not fully understand even if a physician were to explain it to them.

The bill, however, does still let some minors attain prescription birth control without an adult. This is in cases where the minor is already married or already has a child. Also, there may be a provision set up where a minor may be able to plead his or her case in front of a court or some other type of official.

“It wouldn’t totally deny them, it would just make it more complicated,” Ruestman said about these special cases.

“The key words are minors and prescriptions,” Ruestman said. “These are things that have drugs or high doses of something in them that could potentially have side effects. Non-prescriptive birth control would not fall under this.”

Ruestman is joined by 33 other representatives as co-sponsors of this bill, three of which are physicians.