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Kaitlyn Wong

Ms. Gardner

Honors English 10 Period 6

9 May 2017

Breaking Down the Barriers on Birth Control

Over the course of history, the basic rights and liberties of women have seen incredible

change. However, around the world, an estimated 225 million women still lack access to birth

control. Birth control, from condoms to IUDs to Plan B, and reproductive services, such as

fertility and pregnancy care, are simply required for handling pregnancies and abortions. While

most methods of birth control can be easily obtained by adults from drugstores, a prescription or

implant from a clinician, these contraceptives are becoming increasingly more difficult for

teenagers to access, forcing them to face a dilemma, either go through all the trouble just for a

pack of condoms or prescription of birth control pills, or run the risk of getting pregnant or a STI.

With recent cuts in funding for Planned Parenthood, many are starting to fear for their

healthcare. Without Planned Parenthood, people are left without contraception services, STD

treatments, fertility and pregnancy care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, Title X- a federal

family planning program- and Medicaid, which provided reimbursements for low income

families (Calmes A19). Although birth control can negatively affect hormones and may

theoretically promote sexual behavior, birth control helps control our growing global population,

promotes safe sex, and provides protection from STDs.

Undoubtedly, access to birth control shows teenagers that sex is okay. Nevertheless,

giving teenagers birth control allows them to be safe and make smarter decision. According to a
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study done by Guttmacher Institute, 70% of teenagers admitted to having sex before their 19th

birthday (Jester, 4). Whether or not teens are told if sex is okay, states Gebelhoff, a reporter for

the Washington Post, most will decide and choose what to do for on their own. Studies also

show that young people did not engage in more sexually risky behavior when given greater

access to condoms or emergency contraception. While teens were having sex at a young age,

studies state that they will also be smart and use birth control (Gebelhoff, 3). If teenagers didnt

have access to birth control, then fewer teenagers would be having safe sex, increasing the

chance of pregnancy and various STIs. Based on this evidence, while most teenagers will choose

to have sex, if given access to birth control, they will also often choose the safer decision and use

the birth control. If we continuously offer birth control, they will continue to practice safe sex. If

teens insist on having sex, then why shouldnt we allow them to practice safe sex?

Furthermore, birth control should be given to help the worlds exponentially growing

population. In an article written by Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, both reporters,

research says, between 1900 and 2000, the world population increased from 1.5 to 6.1 billion in

just 100 years, with a population growth rate of 1.11% per year. The global population is

climbing rapidly, which means resources and space will start running thin. With the human

population now over 7 billion across the world, the Earth is starting to reach its carrying capacity

while the rate of population growth continues to rise, as stated by a writer for Live Science,

Natalie Wolchover. Theres nothing that can be done about the limited capacity of Earth; but we

can change the populations growth rate. Birth control can help curb the population growth and

avoid overflowing the carrying capacity. Research shows that by using effective long term

contraception, women can space out their children by several years at a time and reduce the
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risk of delivering a premature baby (Tomsic, 3). From this, its clear that birth control, especially

long term birth control, can be beneficial for both the human population and the Earth. Not only

would long term birth control help the Earths limited carrying capacity, but women wouldnt

have to worry about raising children and could plan their own future.

Teenagers should also be able to access birth control for their health. Every person has a

right to maintain their health; sexual health is no different than physical, mental, or emotional

health. According to specialists endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, long term reversible

contraceptives-implant rods, IUDs, are safe forms of birth control and are 99% effective, while

condoms are usually 85%-99% effective, and The Pill 92% is effective. With birth control, one

doesnt need to worry about pregnancy or STIs if they use condoms, since most of them are safe

and effective. One study concluded that families in African villages who had access to birth

control were not only healthier, but were also wealthier and had better educated children (Yang,

2). Clearly, birth control has proven to be not only safe and effective against pregnancies, but

beneficial for the wealth and knowledge of the users. Why should we restrict a persons choice

for potential advancement in economic and educational status? All forms of birth control, even

implants, are proven to be safe, effective, and beneficial. Therefore, birth control allow teenagers

to be safe, protected and healthy even while having sex with birth control.

Many argue that giving teenagers access to birth control would be morally, logically, and

religiously wrong, even patronising towards women: [the inflated price the morning after pill] is

based on a really weird view of women, a really outdated and patronising view that we cant be

trusted with this medication or well be reckless, itll be one-night stands left right and centre,
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(Forster, 3). For example, in a study of girls 17 and younger, who all believed they were already

pregnant, the study found that 8% would have misused Plan B (USA Today, 12). While women

might say and believe that they can be responsible enough to actively use birth control pills or a

morning after pill, these results tell a different story. Studies have shown that women that take

birth control pills have a greater chance of facing mental disorders. According to Carmen

Heredia Rodriguez, a web reporter for Kaiser Health News, research shows that 15 to 19 year

old girls that took oral contraceptives were diagnosed with depression at a 70% higher rate

compared to those that didnt take oral contraceptives. Rodriguez also reported, Even if young

women were to responsible enough to take birth control pills, they would have to face the

increased risk of dealing with depression. With the easy accessibility of birth control, women

could still end up with negative consequences, such as pregnancy or depression. In summary,

those opposing accessibility believe that birth control ultimately wont be beneficial to teenagers.

While birth control does pose all these threats to teenagers health, the benefits of STI and

pregnancy prevention outweigh the threats of potential depression that were shown to decrease

over time.

Ultimately, birth control should be accessible to teenagers to help the global population

and for their health and safety. With access to birth control, teenagers wouldnt have to worry

about the dangers of unprotected sex and focus on greater issues at hand. If we already know

teenagers are going to have sex, regardless of what people say and do to prevent this, then why

should we punish them and try to change their actions by restricting the accessibility of their

birth control, their health, their safety, their basic freedom of choice?
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Works Cited

Calmes, Jackie. Obama Bars States From Denying Federal Money to Planned Parenthood. The

New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2016,

Forster, Katie. "End 'Patronising and Insulting' Consultations for Morning After

Pill." The Independent (Online), 28 Nov, 2016, SIRS Issues Researcher,

Gebelhoff, Robert. "It's Time we Finally Offer Over-the-Counter Birth Control

Pills." Washington Post - Blogs, 20 Mar, 2017, SIRS Issues Researcher,

Heredia Rodriguez, Carmen. "Large Danish Study Links Contraceptive use to Risk of

Depression." Kaiser Health News, 28 Sep, 2016, SIRS Issues Researcher,

"If Plan B Goes OTC, Common Sense Suffers." USA TODAY, 09 Apr,

2013, SIRS Issues Researcher,

Jester, Erin. "Local Schools no Longer Allowed to Distribute Condoms." Gainesville Sun,

12 Apr, 2015, SIRS Issues Researcher,

Roser, Max and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina World Population Growth. OurWorldInData, 2017

Wolchover, Natalie. How Many People Can Earth Support? LiveScience, Purch, 11 Oct. 2011,
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Yang, Jennifer. "Combating Poverty with Contraceptives." Toronto Star, 12

Mar, 2017, SIRS Issues Researcher,