November 13, 2012
Should Teenagers Have Access to Birth Control?
Teenagers are still growing and learning. Sometimes we forget that they are making choices that can affect their whole life. Yes, we are here to teach them and to guide them in making decisions that will help shape their future. Are they going to make mistakes? Are they going to regret some of their choices? Are they going to wish that they had listened to their parents at times that they didn’t? I’m pretty sure that we made mistakes as teenagers and decisions that we wish we could change. I know that some made worse choices than others but, we have all made poor choices at one time or another even as adults. I definitely feel that birth control should be available to teens. The birth control pill was approved by the FDA in 1960. Since then there have been many more contraceptives approved over the years. None of these are 100% effective. Some are more effective than others. The only one that is 100% effective is abstinence. Pregnancy, STD’s, and HIV are some of the dangers that are involved with teens and sex. Yes, abstinence is the best choice and the only one that is 100% effective from these dangers. I do think that teens should be taught that this is the best choice that they could make. Will all teens make this choice? Is there a way to convince all of them to make only this one choice? Is that even possible? I would say that it is not possible and definitely not probable. Birth control is a sensitive subject to many people. There are a lot of different views on this subject and many different beliefs as to whether birth control should be available to kids under 18 years of age or not. I believe that in America we are free to make our own choices, and we should be able to make this choice. Teens are choosing to have sex. If they get pregnant or contract a disease they will have to face this decision and live with the consequences. This is a choice that we cannot control. Teenage pregnancy is an important issue. Is there a definite answer to this question? Do I think that I can convince everyone of a “one right answer only”? No, but I am going to give you some information that I believe may convince you that teens should have access to birth control. The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the Western industrialized world. The pregnancy rate has declined over the past few decades. According to the Center for Disease Control in 1991 there were 61.8 per 1,000 live births to girls aged 15-19. This declined in 2009 to 39.1 per 1,000 and in 2010 it declined to 34.3 per 1,000. They do not know exactly why there has been such a decline but, education and access to birth control is most likely what has been effective in this fight (“About Teen Pregnancy”). Today teens have better sex education and easier access to birth control. Education teaches about different birth controls including abstinence. This is important in keeping our kids safe. Safety should be our top priority when it comes to our kids. How can we debate that? Do we even need to debate that? That is why this is such a hot topic! The CDC released the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey which shows that US High School students are still at a high risk for pregnancy, STD’s, and HIV. The results are: 47.4% had sexual intercourse, 6% before age 13, 15% with 4 or more persons, 40% did not use a condom, 16% were not taught to use a condom, and 13% of teen pregnancies end in abortion (“About Teen Pregnancy”). What does this say about our education? We need to make sure that our kids are getting accurate facts and information. Parents need to talk to their kids when they are young and, they need to listen to their kids. Listening is an important tool. We do not have to agree with our kids or like their decisions but, we have to give them the information they need to deal with their choices. Like it or not we cannot make these choices...