It is important to be aware of your sexual rights. With little age restriction as well as no need for parental consent, Montana laws provide students with numerous options for sexual care.
All of us, regardless of age, have access to birth control prescriptions without parental permission. These prescriptions can be received at MSU Health Services, Bridgercare (with a sliding-scale fee, meaning you pay what you can afford) or from your personal physician. Most insurance covers birth control prescriptions of all kinds, from pills and rings to the intrauterine device (IUD).
However, starting birth control after intercourse will not have an effect on the outcome. This is where emergency contraception comes in. The availability of emergency contraception to various age groups is largely dependent on brand. Pharmacies provide over-the-counter Plan B One-Step (insurance usually covers about half the cost) to all ages without parental permission, while Next Choice, Next Choice One Dose, My Way and Levonorgestrel are prescription-free for those over the age of 17. The pill Ella is available by prescription only, regardless of age.
Whether or not you are currently on birth control, or have taken emergency contraception, nothing is absolutely foolproof. If you think you may be pregnant, a simple test can be picked up at your local grocery store or pharmacy, or you can make a doctor’s appointment. Bridgercare offers free pregnancy testing, and provides counseling for all options. However, they do not provide any pregnancy-related services after testing, in order to stay neutral when discussing options.
In the case of pregnancy, Montana law allows for more options than many other states. You reserve the right to abortion regardless of age. Parental permission has been permanently blocked by the courts, and there is no mandatory waiting period. Medicaid coverage is provided for medically necessary abortions.
Besides watching for signs of pregnancy, another thing to be aware of after sexual intercourse is the possibility of infection. MSU Health Services, Bridgercare, or your personal physician can provide Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing, using a swab, blood test and urine sample. It is important to receive testing regularly, since you never know what someone may be carrying in their body. You are not required to get parental permission for STI testing. Most test results can be received within a week or two. The most common STI on campus is chlamydia. Like chlamydia, many STIs do not show symptoms, so most people are not aware of what they are carrying unless they have been tested recently.
For more information, please visit stdproject.com, sexetc.org, Bridgercare, MSU Health Services, the VOICE Center or your personal physician.