A recent article on Jezebel, entitled The Aweful Reasons Teen Moms Didn’t Use Birth Control, presents the outrageous reasons why female teens avoid using birth control.The findings were compiled by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. The “answers from 5,000 teenage girl who experienced unplanned pregnancies and gave birth between 2004 and 2008” were their target. Luckily, only 13% cited lack of access to birth control as the problem, but it only gets worse from there.
Roughly a quarter of these teen mothers did not use birth control because their partner did not want them to. This is scary because not only are these girls being manipulated by their partners, but their partners also do not care about their health or safety. While most sex education programs discuss manipulation between partners, I am not aware of any that talk about the difficulty of facing a partner who does not want to use birth control in the heat of the moment. Perhaps programs should help develop communication skills between partners, so when it comes to birth control, they can make the best decision together.
While partners encouraging each other to not use birth control is nerve-wracking, the most obscene reason these teens do not use birth control is that they believe they are immune to pregnancy. In fact, one-third of those surveyed believed that. One-third! It seems when it comes to sex education, the programs need to be busting the myths that surround “immunity” to pregnancy. Some of the reasons cited that they can not get pregnant the first time they have sex or while they are on their periods. Clearly, neither of those are true.
If I have learned anything from this article, it is that we should be educating young women on how to stand their ground when it comes to their sexual health. No one should have to face a sexual encounter protection-free because of pressure from a partner. We should also be focusing on teaching young men the importance of protecting their and their partner’s health. These efforts combined would keep many teen pregnancies at bay.