Contraception Confusion

Yet another clear argument for comprehensive science-based sex education for young people in this country. A new survey finds that young adult women in the U.S. are confused about birth control—specifically, when it comes to knowing when it works and when it doesn't.

In the survey, 55 percent of women aged 25 to 29 believe their accidental pregnancy was the result of contraceptive failure, when in reality it was related to an error, such as skipping doses of birth control pills, or misinformation about their fertility or sexual activity. Only seven percent of the sexually active women surveyed said they believed they were at a high risk for accidental pregnancy. In addition, reproductive age women were found to underestimate their risk of pregnancy, which may contribute to the high number of accidental pregnancies, the researchers said. In addition, one in three women is unclear on how long an IUD lasts, saying it lasts less than five years (typically it lasts five to 10 years)—including women who use the device for birth control. Furthermore, while almost all of the women in the study are aware of emergency contraception, more than half do not understand how it works or if they have access to it.

That's why the Center for Reproductive Rights advocates for providing young people accurate sexuality and reproductive health information in schools. When governments allow for sex-ed programs that feed young people misinformation, those governments are failing to protect the health and well-being of their citizens.