Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Contraception Myth #61: Teaching youth how to use contraception is responsible

This only makes sense if one assumption is held true; that young people are going to have sex anyway. This myth requires the assumption that young people will engage in risky sexual behavior whether they know how to use contraception or not; so it’s better if they use contraception, right?

But is that assumption true? The core purpose of contraception, especially to a young person with crazy hormones, is to avoid getting pregnant, or to avoid getting someone else pregnant, right? We can talk about how some forms of contraception reduce the chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases, but I remember being a teenager and when I thought about these things, I was worried about pregnancy; STD’s only happened to other people in big cities. Besides that, condoms are only 86% effective at stopping HIV and are near useless against HPV, which is the cause of 99% of all cases of cervical cancer. But I digress.

Is it true that teens and young adults will have sex just as much if they don’t have contraception? Common sense says ‘no’ and so does every medical statistic I’ve ever heard. Let’s use an analogy, would you expect young people to cheat on tests more or less if the penalty for cheating was removed? This is a rhetorical question but feel free to answer if you wish.

The fact is that contraception reduces (though most young people treat that as removes) the chances of getting pregnant. A baby is not the goal of promiscuous youth. A baby is a deterrent, though I hate to use that word, it’s the truth.

Barack Obama said it best when he said he didn’t want his daughters “punished for making a mistake” by having to have a baby. He was speaking about why abortion should be legal, but the same applies to contraception. Pregnancy is seen as a punishment for having unprotected sex.

Going back to the cheating on a test analogy; if you remove the threat of “punishment”, then will something be done more, less, or the same amount? It only makes sense that more people will do something they shouldn’t if they won’t have consequences, doesn’t it?

So is more contraception training at younger and younger ages the answer to increasing promiscuity in youth? Or would it make more sense to teach kids about the dignity of men and women, the sanctity of sex, and a respect for the life that sex is intended to bring about.

Young people aren’t dumb. They aren’t animals. They can handle the truth. In fact, from what I’ve seen, they’d rather be challenged to live up to a high goal like chastity and abstinence than condescendingly told that they’re animals who must give into their instincts.

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