Teenagers should be educated about birth control measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies and other health problems. Outline Teen pregnancy is one of the most commonly encountered problems by teenagers of today.
2. The United States has the highest number of teen pregnancy in the world (Teen pregnancy statistics, n.d)
3. To prevent teenage pregnancy health counselors have recommended that teenagers should be encouraged to abstain from sexual activity.
4. However, sexual abstinence cannot be followed always especially in cases where the sexual activity is forced or unintended.
5. Hence it has become impertinent that teenagers should also possess the necessary education about birth control measures and emergency contraception (Tanne, 2005).
Awareness about birth control measures will mainly help to avoid two major issues associated with forced or unintended sexual activity
. Unwanted teenage pregnancy which could have a psychological effect on the teenager.
b. Sexually transmitted diseases
Teenage pregnancy is also associated with other problems that include
a. It affects the studies and consequently the career of the teenager.
b. Children born to teenage mothers suffer from problems such as low-birth-weight and perform less-well in schools compared to children born to adult mothers.
6. Thus awareness about birth control would help to alleviate all the above problems and in addition also help to reduce unnecessary abortion which would otherwise only affect the health of the teenagers.
Teen pregnancy in most cases is a result of non-voluntary or unintended sex (Teen pregnancy statistics, n.d. Facts on American, 2010). A recent statistics have revealed that 46% of teenagers in the age group of 15-19 have indulged in sex. While the number is less in the early teenage years, by 19 years of age about 7 in 10 unmarried teenagers have had sexual intercourse and with about 900,000 teenage girls becoming pregnant. Statistics also reveal that 34% of women become pregnant at least once before the age of 20 (Teen pregnancy statistics, n.d. Facts on American, 2010. Tanne, 2005). Such unprotected or unwanted sex increases the risk of both unwanted teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (Facts on American, 2010). Additionally, teenage pregnancy also affects the studies and career of the teenager and also the children born from such pregnancies suffer from problems such as low-birth-weight and tend to perform less well in school compared to children born to adult mothers (Teen pregnancy statistics, n.d). While abstinence from sex is widely recommended for teenagers, many pediatricians and health counselors have also recommended that they also have access to birth control and emergency contraceptive options (Teen pregnancy statistics, n.d). Denial of access to information pertaining to sexual activity or contraceptive measures has not reduced the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases according to studies (Wind, 2005). The need to educate teenagers about birth control and emergency contraception measures have been reinforced by pediatricians as they believe that preaching sexual abstinence alone will not help to reduce unwanted or unintended pregnancies. The pediatricians have suggested these updates as part of the teen pregnancy policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Teaching mere abstinence from sex will only drive teenagers to engage in sexual acts and a lack of knowledge about safe sexual practices will only compound the issue (Tanner, 2005). Hence many pediatricians have recommended that in addition to counseling teenagers to postpone sexual activity it is also impertinent that they are educated about birth control measures and also ensure proper access to emergency contraception which would be vital in cases such as unintended or forces sexual intercourse. Mere teaching of abstinence from sex would only increase the likelihood of teenagers having unprotected sex when they develop a willingness to do so. Even when the sexual intercourse is unintended they would be unable to ration the importance of following birth control measures which might eventually lead to unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. With the increasing number of teenagers engaging in sexual activities, it has become more pertinent that they be duly educated by counselors and medical professionals about birth control (Tanne, 2005). The academy report also mentions the high US teen birth rates as compared to other developed countries where teenagers are educated about birth control measures which are evidenced by lower teen pregnancy. While institutes such as the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, other faith-based organizations and the government Department of Health and Human Services have opposed the updated policy as they believe that teaching sexual abstinence until marriage is a more consistent and sure way of reducing teenage pregnancies (Tanner, 2005). There is a general perception that educating teenagers in general about birth control measures might have adverse effects by encouraging the teenagers to engage in sex and hence it would be more advisable if only teenagers who are sexually active be taught about emergency contraception and birth control measures. Additionally, this issue is vehemently opposed by faith organizations who believe that taking contraceptives is also a method of abortion. However, the Academy strongly favors the policy citing the government data on the rate of teen pregnancy in the US, thus this report stresses that doctors, more specifically pediatricians should provide suitable counseling to teenagers about birth control measures and thus contribute to reducing the number of teenage pregnancies (Tanner, 2005).
An increasing number of teens are discussing birth control and sexual health with their parents, however, forcing parental involvement and consent for contraception may cause the teenagers to have unprotected sex. Many pediatricians believe that the number of teen pregnancy and STDs will only increase when teenagers are unable to get contraception when they are unable to discuss the issue with their parents. Hence there arises a need to make them fully aware of birth control as well as guide them on how to discuss the issue with their parents or their partners. Additionally creating positive awareness about birth control is also extremely vital rather than stressing on the negative consequences such as pregnancy. Researchers also stress that contraceptive measures should not be projected only in terms of its failure rate as it would definitely have an adverse effect on the minds of the teenagers, which is widely propagated by abstinence-only preachers. This would only give a wrong message to the teenagers and at the same time prevent them from opting for a timely control measure after engaging in an unintended or forced sexual act (Wind, 2005)
While the need for sex education and creating awareness about contraception and birth control for teenagers, especially for those still in school, is being debated, medical professionals and pediatricians are in favor of the program. This would definitely help to prevent unnecessary consequences that could arise as a result of unprotected sex.