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08-26 Teenage use of emergency contraceptive doubles due to easier access

Posted in Addiction

Teenage use of emergency contraceptive doubles due to easier access

New research reflects a trend in contraceptives, as the number of adolescents using the morning-after pill has doubled in the course of a few years.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) titled, “Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing of Teenagers Aged 15–19 in the United States,” revealed approximately 2,000 teens were surveyed between 2011 and 2013. The results depict a very detailed picture of teen social behavior. For example, 22 percent of sexually active teen girls reported using the morning-after pill, compared to 8 percent of teen girls who used emergency contraception in 2002.

The specific increase in emergency birth control does not mean that teenagers lack the proper precautions when using other forms of sexual protection, as other findings include:

  • 79 percent of teen girls and 84 percent of teen boys used some form of protection during their first sexual experience of intercourse
  • Over the last 25 years, the proportion of adolescents who had experienced sexual intercourse declined by 14 percent for girls and 22 percent for boys
  • In 2013, the U.S. birth rate for teens between the ages of 15 and 19 decreased by 57 percent in relation to its peak in 1991, along with a decline in the teenage pregnancy rate

Mara Gandal-Powers, a counsel for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center said, “A lot of things changed in the ability to access emergency contraception… Anytime you remove a barrier to access for birth control, it makes it so that women can get to it when they need it with the timeliness that they know they need.”

Gandal-Powers’ statement is in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Plan B One-step, a popular and last minute contraceptive, to be sold over-the-counter instead of requiring a doctor’s prescription.

The CDC report also found that by age 17, young women had an 11 percent chance to have a teen birth if they did not use contraception during their first sexual encounter compared to those who did use one. It is good to remember that emergency birth control, like Plan B, typically costs between $35 and $50 and can cut the chances of pregnancy by nearly 90 percent if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

If you or another teen you know is engaging in sexual activity without protection or cannot control his or her sexual behavior, this may be a sign of a behavioral compulsion or other type of mental disorder. At the earliest sign of these symptoms, contact Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego online or call to speak to a member of our team.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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