Quick hit: sex education

Heather Corinna has a succinct response at CiF to the latest stats on the numbers of young women having repeat abortions.

What can be done to reduce the numbers? Provide better sex education and information about and access to contraception, which is what the UK has sound plans to do. The 2008-09 Opinions Survey Report shows only 57% of UK women aged between 16 and 19 using contraception, a lower rate than all other ages. Only 11% of young people in the Netherlands use no contraception: their rate of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies is impressively low.

Young women nearly always ask for (or are routinely given by healthcare providers) the pill, but oral contraceptives are less effective for teenaged women than for older women. Awareness of emergency contraception should be increased and information should be provided during an abortion visit, with in-depth contraception consultations (women can often start reversible long-acting methods – an injection, implant or IUD – before they leave the clinic). Abortion providers should also ask about the dynamics of their patient’s relationships. Intimate partner violence (IPV) rates are high and women in abusive, controlling relationships have high rates of unwanted pregnancies.

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