Thursday, June 24, 2010

Women and Birth Control in America

I happened to be passing through Feministing when I saw a post about unintended pregnancies in the U.S. I searched around until I found a study that was just recently conducted earlier this month. According to the study nearly half (49%) of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and lower-educated and younger women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions. The study seeks to question why more of these women are not consistently using birth control.

What this question leads me to ask is how well these women know about their birth control and other contraceptive options. I feel that a lot of the time the onus is put on the woman to take birth control, have access to emergency contraception if she needs it, etc. I understand that women need to play a role, but men need to as well. It's sad to know that so many women in the United States oftentimes do not have access to birth control or contraceptives for whatever reasons. When talking about access to contraceptives and birth control, one needs to focus on issues of class.

From talking with women from my high school who got pregnant at a young age, a lot of them often did not have the resources or finances to gain birth control. Sometimes they were promised by a boyfriend or male partner that he would "withdraw", that sex would be better without a condom, that it was only their first time. This saddens me. We need to have more education on contraceptives, we need to have comprehensive sex education in all schools, and we need to provide access to contraceptives for all people.

Stanford University

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