IUDs are the official best in birth control. So say those pregnancy prevention rates and now even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG reportedly replaced their 2007 guidelines and went IUD-centric. The doctors recommended that IUDs should be “first-line” recommendations for all ladies, including teenage girls. But given how culturally irksome we still are about young girls engaging in sexual behavior, I don’t think many a parent will be giving the thumbs up on the device. At least not just yet.
Assuming that parents are fine with their daughters having heterosexual sex in the first place and simultaneously want them as far from pregnancy as can be, IUDs seem to be the way to go. This particular birth control method is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, which is the equivalent of being sterilized. Talk about insurance! As essential as condoms are to a sexually active person in this age bracket, they tend to have high failure rates because of reliance on “perfect user compliance.” And because teens tend to dabble in both condoms and birth control pills improperly and without consistency, unplanned pregnancies happen.
So in that respect, a parent who doesn’t expect abstinence from their child has a very clear cut choice in the matter of selecting birth control. Guaranteed no babies practically equals an IUD at this point.
But at present, only about 4.5 percent of teen girls (aged 15 to 19) use IUDs. And we’re still a nation that throws a hissy fit at the thought of young girls (and boys) even getting the HPV vaccine — which is still warranted even if you’re not having sex.
Anxiety about girls and their sexuality manifests not just there but in Obama‘s absurd overturn of Plan B availability last year, asserting his own paternalistic reasons after trumping scientists who declared the pill fine for young girls.
Given how safe, reliable, and maintenance-free IUDs generally seem to be, it would be wonderful if more girls who are choosing to be sexually active could get their hands on them. But I don’t envision the majority of mothers or fathers choosing to give their daughters as close to a pregnancy-free guarantee as we currently have in our possession. After all, we’re still working on sex education.
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