Study Finds Access to Free Birth Control Causes Dramatic Drop in Abortion and Teen PregnancyBy Rhonda Miller | Published 08 Oct 2012 07:36pm |
A new study at Washington University in St. Louis found teen pregnancy rates declined dramatically when girls got free birth control. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports the study heats up the controversy over the new requirement for employers to provide coverage for contraception.
At Pascagoula High School, 16-year-old Erin is signing up for the Teen Mother Program. Erin asked not to use her last name, but she’s upfront about having sex for the first time when she was 14. Now, she has a one-year-old daughter.
"I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant. It just kind of happened. "
Erin says she agrees with the findings of a study in St. Louis, which gave free birth control to 9,000 teenage girls and women.
"I think it’s good that kids at any age can actually go get on birth control, because they won’t end up being pregnant at an early age. "
For 15-to-19-year-old girls in the study, there were six births per 1,000 girls. The national rate is 34 births per 1,000. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, Mississippi’s teen birth rate is 55 births per 1,000 girls.
The study found longer-acting contraceptives, like intrauterine devices, or IUDS, and hormonal implants, are more effective than the pill, which girls can forget to take. Connie Jo Williams is director of the Teen Mother Program.
"The hormones are telling you you have a biological urge to be sexually active. I was told by a teen mother, you’re not thinking about birth control or anything else, you’re just thinking about the act of having sex."
Jennifer Williams also works with the Teen Mother Program.
"I’m a firm believer in abstinence until marriage. Unfortunately, a lot of times when they come to these clinics to get free birth control, they’re not telling them the long-term consequences of birth control use, of chemical hormone birth control pills, and long-term effects of abortion."
Under President Obama’s health care reform, employers will soon be required to provide coverage for contraception. Shirley Henderson is spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.
"We do not want to be forced to include contraception and abortion services into our insurance. We are self-insured and because we are Roman Catholic, we do not want to offer that."
Members of the Catholic Archdiocese of Biloxi and Jackson have joined Catholic organizations across the country in suing the U.S. government over the new contraception requirements.
Rhonda Miller. MPB News. Biloxi
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