Teenage Girls and the Use of Birth Control
“I am pregnant” those are the most dreaded words that any parent would want to hear from their teenage daughter. The reality, however, is that many teenagers are becoming parents before they fully enjoy childhood. It is estimated that 3 out of every 10 teenage American girls will get pregnant before they turn 20. The United States is one of the western countries with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy with approximately 750,000 reported every year. States such as New Mexico have continued to record the highest birth rates among teenagers aged 15-19 years (Santelli, & Lindberg, 2007). Such high statistics on teen pregnancy raises questions on the effectiveness of the preventive measures that societies are undertaking. It is becoming evident that existing preventive measures are ineffective. There is a need to establish direct measures whose success rate is guaranteed. One such measure involves the use of contraceptives. Teenage girls should be permitted to use contraceptive regardless of parental consent. Teenagers are having sex and admitting to this fact will help societies adopt realistic strategies such as use of birth contraceptive.
It is an undeniable fact that allowing teenage girls to access contraceptives such as birth control pills will reduce the number of teen parents. 90% of teenage pregnancies are unplanned hence unwanted. Teenagers randomly engage in sexual practices without consideration of the consequences. It is only when the teenage girl gets pregnant that she realizes that she did not take any precautions. Allowing teenage girls to take contraceptive will ensure that the rates of unwanted pregnancies diminish. Contraceptive use among teenage girls means that the sexually active teenagers will not have to worry about pregnancy as they engage in sexual activities (NBC News, 2012).
Contraceptives such as birth pills are easier to use than other preventive measures such as condoms. Teenagers may be unfamiliar with how to use a condom. The risk of condom slippage, leakage, and bursts is, therefore, real thus increasing the chances of a teen getting pregnant. Other than the risks of leakage and bursts, it is not a guarantee that sexually active teenagers will always use condoms. In the moment of pleasure and anticipation, the teenager may forget to use a condom. Some teenagers may also be shy about purchasing condoms from stores hence end up having high risk sexual encounters (Pappas, 2013).
Teenagers must be permitted to use birth control because teenage sex is a reality. Teenagers as are engaging in sexual activities exposing themselves to the risk of pregnancies. The teenage girls realize that they are young and thus avoid speaking to their parents about pregnancy preventive measures. Making birth control available and accessible with ease guarantees a reduction in the number of teen parents. Teenagers will be able to proceed with their life, their education and careers. Parenthood is one of the main reasons of teenage school dropout. Teen girls that become pregnant take time off school to care for their pregnancy and their children. In the end, more than half of the teen girls that become mothers never complete their education. Very few teen mothers further their education beyond high school (Santelli, & Lindberg, 2007).
The teen mothers are overwhelmed by parental responsibilities that interfere with their normal life as teenagers. The unrestricted provision of birth control will ensure that teenagers are introduced to birth control. The teen girls will be able to complete their education and get into their preferred careers before they have children.
Teenagers are having sex; that is the reality that parents must accept. It is by accepting this reality that parents will be realistic enough to talk to their teenagers on birth control option available. Some parents may be uncomfortable about discussing sexual matters with their teenager. Some parents may also hold religious values that dictate that sex before marriage is a sin. The reality on the group, however, is that teenagers are having sex at an alarming high rate. Therefore, rather than assuming that his or her teenage daughter is having sex, the parent should introduce the idea of birth control early in the life of the child (Pappas, 2013).
Ensuring that the topic of sex is not a taboo in a household enables the teenage girl to discuss sexual issues with the parents. A parent will thus discuss whether his or her child is sexually active. If sexually active, the parent should assist the child access appropriate birth control. Allowing teenager’s access birth control is the right step towards reducing the number of teen pregnancies. Restricting teenagers from accessing birth control does not mean that the children will avoid having sex. Societies should be realistic and realize that teenagers will persist to have sex whether birth control options are available or restricted.
The ability of teenagers to access birth control aids in the reduction of the number of teenagers seeking abortion. Teenage girls who do not wish to become parents sometimes opt for an abortion. Though the option of adoption is available, some teenage girls prefer not to undergo their entire pregnancy and birth experience. Parents to teenage daughters that become pregnant are sometimes left without any alternative than an abortion (Singh, 2000). This is especially when the daughter does not want the pregnancy. Abortion is a medical procedure that involves termination of a pregnancy. Though the procedure can be safely done by a trained health professional, the risks involved are high. Abortion, just like any other medical procedure can turn tragic in cases such as excessive loss of blood. Incidences such as deaths due to abortion procedures can be avoided if birth control is made available to teenagers.
For many years, the topic sex had been a taboo topic. However, society can no longer ignore it. Teenagers are engaging in careless sexual behavior which is evident with the rising number of teenage pregnancies. Accepting that teenagers are sexually active will enable parents and the society to make birth control accessible to teenagers. Teenagers are usually shy about discussing their sex life with the parents hence in an effort to avoid the discussion, teenagers engage in unprotected sex, which exposes the teen girl to early pregnancy. Teen girls need to have the freedom to access birth control if they need them. A teenager who is sexually active is responsible for her body and providing her with options to ensure that she does not disrupt her education and destroy her life is the appropriate action to take. Contraceptive/birth control should be available for teenagers. Suing birth control is not about morals and irresponsible sexual behavior; it is about being in control of one’s sexual life. Teenagers should be given the chance to control their sexual life by making birth control available to them.
NBC News (2012). Girls need just in case birth control prescriptions. Retrieved from http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/26/15456143-girls-need-just-in-case-
Pappas, S. (2013). State with highest teen pregnancy rate. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/02/26/state-with-highest-teen-pregnancy-rate-is/
Santelli, J. & Lindberg, L. (2007). Explaining recent declines in adoles
cent pregnancy in the US. American journal of public health. Vol. 97(1); 150-156
Singh, S. (2000). Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing: levels and trends in developed countries. Journal of Family Planning Perspective.32:14–23