Transition Plan for Healthy Children

Reproductive Health

Adolescents and young adults need access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services to grow up healthy and thrive. The administration should advance policies that remove harmful barriers to evidence-based services and prioritize confidential access to the full range of services young people need.

Restore and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care services for adolescents and young adults. The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal grant program dedicated to ensuring access to confidential reproductive health care for adolescents and low-income young adults, but recent regulatory changes have undermined the program's efficacy and reach. Federal data show that the Title X program served nearly one million fewer patients in 2019 than the year prior, further exacerbating already unmet need for affordable, confidential reproductive health care. The administration should move swiftly to rescind the 2019 Title X Final Rule and replace it with regulations that guarantee access to noncoercive, evidence-based sexual health care, assure confidentiality for young people, and preserve the integrity of the patient-provider relationship.

Guarantee access to the full range of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved contraception. Federal law provides for no-cost access to contraception through employer-sponsored health plans, but Health and Human Services (HHS) has weakened this requirement through broad carveouts for employers with religious and moral objections. The administration must ensure that all women of reproductive age have access to no-cost coverage of the contraceptive method that is right for them, regardless of their source of health insurance coverage.

Support and incentivize the expansion of evidence-based, comprehensive sexuality education. All children and adolescents need access to developmentally appropriate, evidence-based, comprehensive, and medically accurate human sexuality education that empowers them to make informed, positive, and safe choices about healthy relationships, responsible sexual activity, and their reproductive health. This includes information about methods of contraception and sexual consent, as well as information that affirms gender identity and sexual orientation. The administration should ensure the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and other sexuality education funding streams are awarded to evidence-based, comprehensive programming and eliminate funding for stigmatizing and counterproductive abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Elevate the role of adolescent health within HHS. The federal government has a key role to play in promoting the unique needs of adolescents. The administration should reconstitute the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) within HHS. A reimagined OAH can take on an expanded role in promoting adolescent health through expanded medical expertise and serve as a focal point for comprehensive federal government action to improve the health and well-being of adolescents.

Protect young people's access to confidential services. Decades of research findings have shown that privacy concerns influence the behavior of patients, particularly adolescents and young adults, with respect to whether they seek care, where they do so, which services they accept, and how candid they are with their health care providers. The administration should adopt policies that protect adolescent confidentiality by developing and implementing unique billing and claims strategies that ensure adolescents and young adults can obtain care with full protection of their confidentiality for appropriate services.

Ensure free choice of providers in reproductive health care. The administration should ensure that patients have access to the health care provider of their choice and prevent the arbitrary exclusion of providers from health care programs, including Medicaid, for reasons unrelated to their qualifications or competency to provide specific services.

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American Academy of Pediatrics