Wow, Margaret Sanger would be blisteringly disappointed by the news. Almost one hundred years after she started her life’s work educating women about pregnancy and birth control, a recent study has uncovered significant gaps in the knowledge of 18-20-year-olds.
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|Young Adults Still Don't Know Enough About Birth Control|
|Written by sharone|
|10 January 2010|
Health News You Can Use
December 17, 2009
Young Adults Still Don’t Know Enough About Birth Control
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy surveyed 1,800 young people between the ages of 18 and 20. They discovered that knowledge of birth control was startlingly limited. 63 percent of study respondents chose “little” or “nothing” to describe their knowledge about birth control pills, and 30 percent made the same response in reference to their knowledge about condoms.
They also discovered a shocking disconnect between desire to plan pregnancy, and regular use of contraception. Although 94 percent of men and 84 percent of women responded in the survey that they think pregnancy should be planned, and although 86 percent of men and 88 percent of women responded that they are at a point in their lives where it is important to avoid pregnancy, only about half of all sexually active and unmarried respondents reported using birth control on a regular basis. Over the previous three months, 24 percent used it inconsistently, and 19 percent didn’t use any at all.
In addition to this information, the survey discovered that a lot young people count on incorrect information to help them prevent pregnancy. For example, 28 percent of men thought that doubling up on condoms would be more protective, when this practice actually increases the chance of condom breakage. And 18 percent of men thought having sex standing up could help prevent pregnancy (!) – an utterly false idea.
All of this could certainly help explain our country’s high unplanned pregnancy rate. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), half of all pregnancies – about three million a year – are unplanned. That rate goes up among unmarried women ages 20-24, among whom 60 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. These are truly unplanned pregnancies – as opposed to “mistimed.” A mistimed pregnancy is one that is desired, but occurred earlier than intended. An unplanned pregnancy is one that was never intended.
While there are certainly many families that have welcomed unplanned babies into their lives, and helped those babies grow and thrive, unplanned pregnancies increase the risk of all kinds of things, including:
• Increased rates of abortion
The CDC has been working towards a goal of dropping the rate of unplanned pregnancy to 30 percent by 2010 (which seems pretty unlikely, given the results of this recent survey). But given the serious health and social consequences of this rate remaining high, it’d be a great national New Year’s resolution. . ..Margaret Sanger would surely approve.