I never thought I’d have to write a post like this. Birth control has long been a subject that’s drawn widespread support. The most successful birth control access program – Title X – was lauded by then President Richard Nixon and it’s sponsor, George HW Bush. North Carolina has had its own birth control parity law for years with no noticeable protest. This sudden controversy is surprising and concerning.
Birth control is a really good thing. It allows people young and old to save pregnancy for a time when they’re emotionally, physically, and financially prepared to have children.
As debates about birth control ramp up, here are three must-know facts about how birth control impacts teen pregnancy:
- North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate has fallen 53% since 1990. During the same time period, teen abortion rates fell 70%. (We don’t work on abortion issues. We believe preventing pregnancy prevents all possible outcomes.)
- New research released yesterday shows the drop in teen pregnancy is almost entirely because of birth control use. For 18 and 19 year olds – the age group that accounts for two-thirds of teen pregnancies – almost 100% of the decline in teen pregnancy is because those teens have increased their use of birth control in general andstarted using more reliable birth control methods. For 15 to 17 year olds, 75% of their teen pregnancy decrease is because of birth control use and 25% of the decrease is because they’re waiting longer to have sex or are avoiding sex.
- The drastic reduction in teen pregnancies since 1990 has saved North Carolina taxpayers billions of dollars. Yes, billion with a b. Because we have fewer teen pregnancies, we’re all paying less for Medicaid births and prenatal care; for repeated years in school; for youth of teen parents who end up incarcerated; and for young mothers and fathers who never finish school, never access high paying jobs, and pay less in sales and income taxes.
Let me connect the dots in case you missed it: In addition to helping you protect your health, finances, career and education, birth control has saved you a ton of cash by reducing the number of teen pregnancies.
This issue always gets stickier when we’re talking about young people. So, I’ll just remind you of two facts from independent surveys of parents in North Carolina:
- Almost 90% of parents in North Carolina want their child to learn about the effectiveness of birth control in school.
- In a survey of parents in conservative Gaston County conducted last fall, 91.8% of parents said it’s important for their child to know where they can get birth control. 73% of parents said it was “very important”.
So, North Carolina, birth control has been your friend. Don’t stab it in the back because of a trumped up political controversy.