Free research paper example on Birth Control:
Teenage sexuality and birth control are topics of conversation that many adults find themselves unwilling to discuss. However, ignoring these issues will not make them disappear. The fact of the matter remains that teens are having sex and need to be properly educated to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Because of the large number of unplanned teen pregnancies, the distribution of birth control amongst teens is a much-needed practice.
However, many adults are opposed to this idea. Some parents feel that if they allow their teens to have access to birth control they are in some way condoning pre-marital sex. These parents suspect that they are perhaps even telling their child it is time to become sexually active. A common belief that is shared amongst the majority of the opposition is that access to birth control will encourage teens to engage in sexual activity sooner rather than later. There are even allegations that certain forms of contraception are nothing more than “chemical abortions”. Among the opponents who support this claim are organizations such as the American Life League and the Pro-Life Action League. These organizations argue that birth control is morally wrong and against the laws of God. Perhaps the most widely held belief is that teenagers should be provided with abstinence-only education. The supporters of the abstinence-only approach think that teenagers should not be educated in sexuality, only taught to refrain from sexuality.
Despite opponents claims that allowing access to contraception is to condone pre-marital sex there is no factual data to support this claim. Studies conducted by Advocates for Youth, have established that providing contraception to teenagers increases safe sex practices among students who are already sexually active, while it has no effect on the numbers of students engaging in sexual intercourse. Teenagers will know their parents and educators opinion of pre-marital sex if there has been an open and honest relationship established. As young people grow, parents can give them useful information to help them make responsible, healthy decisions about their sexuality. Teenagers are more likely to base their decisions to become sexually active on peer pressure than on an adults opposition or approval. Many teens with little sexual education become confused by peers and may be pressured into sexual intercourse before they are ready. Therefore, if children are educated on all forms of birth control and all phases of their sexuality, they should understand your stand and make well-informed decisions.
Also, rather than rushing the act of sex amongst teens, providing birth control to teenagers only increases a teens responsibility, not sexuality. In fact, a report by D. Kirby has found that “…research has shown that programs that include information about intercourse and contraception can delay the age of first intercourse, reduce the frequency of intercourse, and decrease the number of sexual partners teens may have”. The most successful programs aimed at promoting safer sex practices and postponing first intercourse have not been shown to initiate early sexual activity. In a 1998 study, conducted by Mark A. Schuster of Family Planning Perspectives, Mark documented the impact of a high school condom availability program on sexual attitudes and behaviors. His conclusions are as follows:
Our findings suggest that the availability of condoms has a strong impact on the intention to use condoms in the future among those who have never had intercourse, and on males’ use at first intercourse. Thus, such programs may have their greatest impact on adolescents who have the least experience with intercourse.
The results of this study only seems to reinforce the belief that the time to educate teenagers on the proper uses of birth control should be prior to their first sexual experience.
Nevertheless, there will always be extremists who argue that one thing or another does not comply with the their religious beliefs. Many pro-life organizations claim that birth control, in medicinal form, serves as a “chemical abortion”. Chemical abortions are defined by these organizations as abortions that are not medically induced, meaning the only intervention is with drugs, or chemicals. Such claims are preposterous and are clearly worded to be used as scare tactics. While there may be unwanted side effects associated with chemical contraceptives such as, the birth control pill, Depo-Provera, or Norplant, they are pre-pregnancy solutions and in no way endanger the life of a child if the user of the contraception is not currently pregnant. Devices such as the IUD, condoms, and the sponge cannot be blamed for causing a “chemical abortion”, as there are no drug interactions involved. However, these too are frowned upon as defying the laws of God. The members of the opposition with these views hope that by stating that it is morally wrong to use birth control teens will scare away from contraception. Teen-agers with a strong sense of faith should feel no shame for acting responsibly.
While abstinence amongst teenagers is the ideal solution to teen pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, the idea is unrealistic. There are no published studies in the professional literature indicating that abstinence only programs will result in young people delaying intercourse. The teaching that abstinence is the “only certain way” to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases may imply to teens that contraception and condoms are not effective. The reality is that sexual behavior is almost universal among American teenagers. According to a study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 55 percent of females and sixty percent of males between the ages of fifteen and nineteen reported being sexually active. Abstinence should be stressed as the preferred method of birth control, but not the only method.
In conclusion, teenagers face many obstacles to obtaining and using contraception. Some of these obstacles include confidentiality, cost, transportation, embarrassment, objection by a partner, and the perception that the risks of pregnancy and infection are low. The best we can do for today’s teens is to educate them in the proper uses and means of obtaining birth control. If a teenager is going to be sexually active they should have the right and the means to go about it in a responsible manner. As the old adage states, “It is better to be safe, than sorry”.
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