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 public: choice:   contraception  
so you can decide when you are ready to conceive • 

  Unintended Pregnancy
Unintended pregnancy is the primary factor behind the high number of abortions that take place every year in the United States. Although abortion is safer than childbearing, many women could avoid the procedure altogether if contraceptive options were improved and if safe, effective and easy-to-use methods, together with comprehensive sex education, were more widely available.

Many unplanned pregnancies result in wanted, loved and healthy children, but that is not always the case. Women faced with unplanned pregnancies are more likely to ignore the early signs of pregnancy and less likely to receive adequate prenatal care; their infants, therefore, run an increased risk of low birth weight and infant mortality. For some families, the emotional and economic stress of an unplanned child is overwhelming. Children who are unplanned are more likely to be abused, and children born unwanted face increased risks of poor health, poverty and neglect.

Unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are serious public health problems that could be alleviated by a national reproductive health policy that encourages personal responsibility instead of inhibiting it. Ensuring that women have access to contraceptive options that meet their health needs is essential to diminishing the significant personal and societal costs of unintended pregnancy and STDs. A national reproductive health policy must confront these problems and institute reforms that will revitalize contraceptive research and development, ensure that safe and effective birth control methods are widely available and promote public education about sexual responsibility and reproductive health.

(lifted from NARAL ProChoice America - http://www.prochoiceamerica.org)

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Recommended read:

In Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America, Janet Farrell Brodie examines the changes in attitudes, technology, and medical knowledge that led to a 49 percent decrease in the number of children born to white native-born women during the 19th century. She examines an impressive range of original sources, including advertisements, an amazing array of advice books and pamphlets, and a fascinating diary in which Mary Poor, a New England woman, maintained an encoded record of her sexual activity over 23 years of marriage.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute
The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) is a nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education. The Institute's mission is to protect the reproductive choices of all women and men in the United States and throughout the world. It is to support their ability to obtain the information and services needed to achieve their full human rights, safeguard their health and exercise their individual responsibilities in regard to sexual behavior and relationships, reproduction and family formati

Click on the links below for more information on:

The facts about pregnancy, contraception and abortion

U.S. women's contraceptive use

The importance of contraception in reducing unwanted pregnancy

Threats to publicly funded family planning services

Health care providers' refusal to offer services

The dangers of limiting teens' access to information and services

Thinking of Getting off the Pill?
Check out J.'s blog: Getting off the Pill, where a 29-year-old woman, who's been on the Pill for eleven years documents her experience of getting off the Pill and into Fertility Awareness.
contraception review 08 contraception review 08

how old were you when you first started using contraception; what method did you start with, and where did you learn about it?

I was 16 and went on the pill because I knew about nothing else and my GP gave it to me as if it were candy, I think by 16 every girl knows about the pill and nothing about other methods.

did your mother talk to you about preventing unwanted pregnancy? did she bring it up, or did you? did you discuss it with your friends?

My mother never really discussed anything about sex with me, I think she realised that I was smart enough to learn for myself, she gave me little reminders about being careful - in fact she still does at 21.

what about school - what did they tell you regarding birth control?

Our schools sex education was as bad as most, we were taught about the existence of the pill, condoms and diaphragm, but we werenâ t really told much about how they worked, the emphasis was on condoms for the prevention of STD' s/STI' s and the pill was discussed because they are one of the better known options and generally people seem to think that talking to teens about all the options and facts will confuse them.

have you tried more than one method? what do you like about the one you're using now, and what don't you like about it?

I have tried just condoms, which were fine but made sex far from what it really should have been like. I was on the pill for years and hated it more and more as I learned more about my body and had more side effects. I am now going without any birth control, but I am going to be using FAM.

have you had any problems, side effects, etc. with contraception?

The pill has of course suppressed my cycles for this long, which I really hate, and they have also killed my libido. The last make of pill I was on triggered off IBS-D, the brand before that gave me horrific mood swings, depression, spots and period pains, the brand before that made my breasts very tender so that I couldn't sleep. I've also had pills that have caused me to have a three-month-long-period.

I'm one of the lucky ones, I've had no real trouble with the pill, although I still discourage others to use the pill because of it's effect on the body.

what would you tell your daughter (real or hypothetical) about birth control? When would you start talking to her about it (or others you've tried)?

When I have daughters I plan to make a point to get them to learn about their bodies and fertility long before they start menstruating and before it would be considered necessary to tell children about contraception. I'd like to see them use FAM, so hopefully by the time they are sexually active they will have no need for any other sort of birth control past condoms - I' d be sure to tell them about how very important it is to use condoms, no excuses. They will be taught about other methods, but not sure yet what I'd tell them as I am too young to be thinking about having children, so won't be a worry for a while.

do you always use contraception when you have sex (that is, when not-hoping to conceive)? How important is contraception to you?

I always use contraception, I am only 21 years old so still too young to be having children, also my boyfriend may be 25 but he has the mental age of about 9, along with money problems we cannot have children. The area that I live in is full of young teens having children, that is the reason I made such a special point not to get pregnant because I did not want to be another stupid teen getting pregnant.

I've never had unprotected sex, only twice have I needed emergency contraception - when using condoms alone, my boyfriend at the time was useless and they were cheap condoms - I have yet to need an abortion, I hope I never will need one.

Although I could handle pregnancy it is not something I want right now, at this moment I am waiting to get a FAM instructor just to make extra sure that I will be protected when I use this method...this means going without sex for a few months until I can chart as barrier methods aren't an option, doing this is far better than taking the risk!

is the contraception method you use covered by your insurance?

I live in the UK so most methods are free, except for condoms if you are 21 or over, FAM of course is pretty much free after a BBT thermometer is bought.

this conversation makes me think....

...why aren't condoms free on the NHS for over 21's considering their impotence?

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contraception review index
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