Unspoken Truth of Birth Control

CondomsWhen I was in high school, I was taught birth control to “prevent” pregnancy. In the 1980’s, condoms were promoted as “safe sex” and “protection.” Planned Parenthood currently says that condoms “prevent pregnancy.”

Let’s say you are a teenager feeling the urge to have sex. You hear condoms:

  • prevent pregnancy
  • are safe
  • are effective

Do you have all the information you need to make a Noble Choice?

Planned Parenthood tells you that

  • “Each year, 2 out of 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant if they always use condoms correctly.”

As a teenager, you believe that of course you will use it correctly even when you further read that

  • “Each year, 18 out of 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant if they don’t always use condoms correctly.”

That’s only a 2% chance or at worse an 18% chance of pregnancy, right? Wrong.

Notice each of those stats start with the words, “Each year.” More accurately, they should say, “After one year of use.” So those statistics would apply if you have sex using a condom for a year and then quit having sex.

How many of you only had sex for one year and then quit? Anyone? Anyone?

Here is the unspoken truth of birth control, the longer you have sex the greater your odds of pregnancy.

 The New York Times did an article on their website that has an interactive graph that shows you the effect multiple years of sex has on these statistics.

Going back to our illustration, let’s say you are a high school sophomore and have sex using a condom. What are the odds you’ll be involved in a teen pregnancy before graduation?

  • Not 2% because you are not perfect.
  • Not 18% because you didn’t quit having sex after your sophomore year.
  • The New York Times graph tells you it is 45% even with typical use of a condom! That’s almost the same odds as flipping a coin.
  • As a college sophomore your odds are 63%.
  • Your odds of a pregnancy before you graduate college? At least 75%!

Still think that those “effective,” “safe sex” condoms “prevent pregnancy?”

Aisch, G., & Marsh, B. (2014, September 13). How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down? Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/14/sunday-review/unplanned-pregnancies.html

Planned Parenthood. (2014). Condom. Retrieved from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/birth-control/condom