One of the most awkward situations a teen has to go through is the “sex talk” with their parents. One of the biggest fears from parents and teens is the high risk of becoming pregnant after intercourse. There are several methods to prevent unexpected pregnancy such as an implant, sponge, and condoms. One of the most convenient however is the pill. Birth control should be easily accessible to everyone despite the cost or parent approval.
When talking about why birth control should be easily accessible, it is important to understand what it is and learn about its history. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the birth control pill as, “any of various preparations, usually containing both a progestin and an estrogen, taken orally especially on a daily basis, and act as contraceptives typically preventing ovulation by suppressing secretion of gonadotropins”. Overall can be described as a pill taken to prevent pregnancy. In the 1950’s Margaret Sanger with the help of Gregory Pincus started the long road to creating the first birth control pill. Sanger met Pincus at a dinner party in New York and knowing his reputation knew he would be perfect to help her (Nikolchev 1). The women who were used in testing were typically rape victims who could not afford to provide for their children. Research goes on to say that many of the tests did not meet the standards of today’s tests. They did, however, test this pill just as thoroughly as they do today. By 1957 the pills were FDA approved for the regulation of menstrual cycles. The approval was a huge victory for Sanger. By 1959, 500,000 women were using this form of contraception to regulate periods while benefiting from its prevention of unexpected pregnancy. It was not until 1960 that the FDA approved it to be sold strictly for its contraceptive abilities. Today, for every 100 women who use this method, about nine will become pregnant in relevance to showing how far along we have come (Planned Parenthood 2). Birth control has numerous positive effects on women and their health.We should make this pill easier accessible to women of all ages.
Many of us are familiar with acne being apart of the process of puberty and just how terrible it is. According to parents.com, one of birth controls positive side effects is its prevention of acne. Dermatologists have recommended the pill as a solution to acne for decades. Lisa Keder explains that women’s testosterone increases production in sebum oil which can cause your face as well as other areas to break out. When taking birth control, your testosterone decreases, which also decreases the production of sebum oil. In our society, image is as important as just about anything. Having a clear face is a huge demand from teens.
Another benefit coming from the pill is its ability to lighten periods and some of the inconveniences included with them. Oral contraceptives slow the growth of the endometrial lining located in the vagina (Fetters 1). This is the tissue that sheds itself during women’s period flow. With the decrease in lining comes the benefit of less painful periods in forms of cramps and other pains such as headaches. Many women suffer from migraines during the 5-7 day time period they are on their period. While on birth control, the pill will eliminate the constant migraines. The menstrual cycle is reduced as well as some of the pain that comes along with it. The last thing any teen girl wants is to have to deal with a headache along with homework, sports, and studying for tests.
Finally, the most obvious positive effect of birth control is the prevention of unexpected pregnancy. According to research done by many networks, it shows that the average age for people to become sexually active is approximately sixteen years old. At an adolescent age, our brains are not fully developed and can be easily manipulated into sexual activity. Where teenage sex is not encouraged, it is better to be safe than sorry. Taking the pill does not ensure women to be engaged in intercourse, rather than it being prepared for an uncertain situation.
While birth control has many positives, there happen to be some negatives coming along with it. When taking birth control female’s libido can decrease. In other words, libido is a shortened term to describe drive for sexual activity. This might affect females negatively if they are engaged in a physical relationship. There is a possibility for risk of blood clots to increase to up to three times the normal amount (Fetters 1). The author goes on to say that if avoidance of smoking cigarettes and the woman does not have high blood pressure or diabetes, her risk will decrease immensely. Some women can experience depression or mood swings with taking the pill. Dr. Keder goes on to say that if you experience any side effects that change your mood or cause dramatic mood swings not to panic, there are alternative brands and pills that specify to help different areas. Lastly, as helpful as birth control is to prevent pregnancy, it has been said that it is only 95%-99% effective if taken correctly and users are not guaranteed full protection from pregnancy.
As stated before, there are situations where it is extremely awkward for teens to open up to their parents about sex. Many girls are embarrassed to open up to the topic. It is easy to be intimidated of judgement or causing disappointment. Making birth control available to teens free of charge and without parental consent would lower unexpected pregnancy rates and abortion procedures because girls would have easy access to a method of prevention no matter their situation.
Earlier this month, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the latest Republican to voice support for making birth control available over the counter, joining a group of Democratic women who have long been working on legislation.
If it moves ahead, the odd-couple coalition could help break a political logjam that doctors’ groups say has made it harder for women to properly use contraception, leading to more unplanned pregnancies and poorer health outcomes.
- Abrams, Abigail. “Can Over-the-Counter Birth Control Become a Bipartisan Issue.” Time, Time, 21 June 2019, time.com/5609049/over-counter-birth-control-bipartisan/.
- Asbell, Bernard. “The Birth Control Pill: A History.” Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2015, www.plannedparenthood.org/files/1514/3518/7100/Pill_History_FactSheet.pdf.
- Fetters, K. Aleisha. “The Birth Control Pill: Benefits and Side Effects.” Parents, www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/postpartum-birth-control/side-effects-of-birth-control/.
- Nikolchev, Alexandra. “A Brief History of the Birth Control Pill.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 11 May 2010, www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/a-brief-history-of-the-birth-control-pill/480/.