A health policy in Washington allows girls as young as 11 to receive free intrauterine devices (IUDs) for long-term birth control without seeking consent of parents. The program, labeled “Take Charge,” has stirred up concerns from parents about the health and safety risks of giving IUDs to children.
While the program benefits girls who do not have health insurance, it could also lead to a rise in girls who are susceptible to IUD side effects. The Mirena IUD is one of several hormonal birth control devices that are inserted into the uterus, and has received more than 70,000 official complaints of side effects and injuries.
Mirena IUD side effects range from headaches and discomfort to tissue damage, internal bleeding and even ectopic pregnancy. Device manufacturer Bayer HealthCare faces thousands of Mirena lawsuits alleging that the device caused injuries. The company has also faced charges that it downplayed the risks associated with Mirena and overstated its potential efficacy in advertisements.