Too Many Young Women Have No Idea How Contraception Works


Thanks to a prevailing climate of misinformation when it comes to how the Swiss timepiece that is the female reproductive system actually works, a distressing new poll from Contraception In America revealed that two in five women flat out did not use birth control or skipped doses of oral contraceptive pills because they were not sexually active, or believed they were infertile much the same way an ancillary character in a zombie movie might, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe that he or she is somehow immune to a zombie bite. Babies are zombies — this is what we’ve come to.

A misguided faith in infertility among young people is, unfortunately, a well-documented phenomenon — earlier this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that young men and women between the ages of 18 and 29 tended to overestimate their inability to make new people, with 13 percent of male subjects and 19 percent of female subjects believing they were infertile (only about 6 percent of women in this age group are likely to be infertile, btw). The newest study of birth control ignorance polled 201 physicians and 1,000 women within a wider age range, 18-49-year-olds, and found that 55 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 believe that their unplanned pregnancy was the result of a contraceptive failure. This, in fact, turned out not to the case — these unplanned pregnancies were actually the result of user error, such as skipping birth control doses, or respondents being misinformed about their fertility or sexual activity.

A mere seven percent of sexually active respondents believed that they were at high risk for unplanned pregnancy, while a majority of reproductive-age women tended to underestimate their risk, which, according to researchers, may contribute to a higher rate of unplanned pregnancies. Respondents demonstrated an even broader ignorance about other forms of contraception, such as the typical length of an IUD’s viability (five to ten years), as well as the mysteries of emergency contraception, a resource many respondents didn’t know if they had access to. The biggest takeaway from the poll? Young women aren’t getting the access and education to contraception that they need to make informed decisions, and that really needs to change like on the double.

Women confused about birth control: survey [Toronto Sun]

Reproductive age women may underestimate their risk of pregnancy [Contraception in America]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin