A Family Divided: Alex's Dating and Birth Control: Alex Wants Birth Control

"I Just Want to Be Cautious"
Dr. Phil discusess Alex's interst in dating again, and whether she should be on birth control.
In a previous show, Dr. Phil asked Alex if she was on birth control. She explained that she was not because her mom didn't approve of it. Recently she made a video diary addressing the subject.


Alex explains that she wants to talk with her mom about being on birth control, but she is nervous. "My mom thinks that by putting me on birth control she will be saying that it's OK for me to run around and have sex with everybody, which is not my intention at all," Alex says. "I just want to be protecting myself in case I ever do end up in that predicament. I know what consequences come from having sex, and I don't want to end up pregnant again."


In the studio, Dr. Phil asks Alex why she thinks she should be on birth control if she doesn't want to be sexually active.


Alex replies, "I'll be 16 years old in a week, and I can't say that I won't ever be in that kind of position again. I want to be responsible."

 

Dr. Phil gets to the crux of the controversy, "If you do give her the pill, that's like an implicit endorsement ... In a roundabout way it's kind of like permission, that's your fear.
The other end of the spectrum is, if you don't, Nathan's going to have a brother or sister."


He addresses Alex, "So you're saying, 'I think it's the responsible thing to do because I can't be sure what's going to happen a year from now, or two years from now, or three years from now,' right?"


Alex agrees and says, "My mom thinks that by putting me on birth control is condoning the fact that she thinks I am going to have sex, but it's not that at all. I mean, is it wrong to want to be responsible?"


"Well, responsibility doesn't start with the pill, it starts before that," Dr. Phil tells her.

Dr. Phil asks Erin why she believes that Alex is deluding herself.


Erin explains that Alex has admitted to using her body for power. "She's an attractive young woman, and she knows that that is a powerful statement. She said, 'I like the attention that I get, and I do have power and control over people' with her looks and her body."


Alex responds saying, "Find me one woman that does not like that."


Erin emphatically tells her, "Sex is a powerful tool and women can wield that and use it over men, but it's not something that you should be doing at 16 and that's what I'm concerned about. You haven't kind of made that connection yet. That you are not capable and ready emotionally to be having sex."


Alex tells her mom that she knows that, and she is not going to have sex.


"Then if you're not, then you don't need birth control," her mom replies.

Dr. Phil asks Alex if she's had sex since Nathan was born, and she says she hasn't. He asks Marty and Erin if they believe her.


Erin tells him that she doesn't think that Alex has had the opportunity to because, "She's been under our eye 24-7."


"If she's had the opportunity, do you think she would've?" Dr. Phil asks.


"I think she would have thought about it maybe a half second more,

but I think she would have definitely. But she would have thought, 'Hey, you better get a condom,'" Erin says. Marty disagrees.


Dr. Phil tells them his view about Alex. "I think this is a very intelligent young woman. I think she got snuck up on before and didn't realize the gravity of what she's doing. I think she does understand that, and I think if she has had sex since Nathan was born, it was with protection," Dr. Phil tells them. "But, I can not believe the naivete with which I hear you guys responding, saying, 'We have watched her 24-7.' That's not true. You don't know where she is all the time."


Dr. Phil reminds Marty and Erin they need to establish rules when Alex gets her license in a month, because they'll have even less control then.

 

Dr. Phil gives his opinion about Alex being on birth control. "I think you have no choice. I think you have to put this girl on birth control. I can argue both sides equally effectively. I can get over here and say you don't go on birth control, because that's an implicit endorsement, and it tells her she can do it with impunity ... But the truth is, the dynamic of this situation is that she is at risk to become pregnant again." He explains that the goal is to get her through the rest of high school and college, and to a place where she is mature enough to then decide if she wants to add to her family. "The chance that that's going to happen without birth control is, in my opinion, zero," he says.


"The question is not if you put her on it, the question is when you put her on it," Dr. Phil continues. "I just think that's a risk you can't take. I don't like the message it sends. But I think the consequences of being wrong are too great to ignore."