Virtual Voices

Teens, sex, and contraception

Health

A new study by Thomson Reuters has found that the number of teens using oral contraceptives has increased significantly from 2002 to 2009. Among teens with commercial insurance, the number of those given prescriptions for oral contraceptives increased by 50 percent.

For 18-year-olds, the numbers are especially high. As of 2009, 30.5 percent of commercially insured at that age have prescriptions for the Pill.

No doubt sex education providers like Planned Parenthood and SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) are thrilled with the news. Their goal, after all, is not to discourage sexual behavior among teens, but rather to make it as "safe" as possible.

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The fact that 3 million American teenage girls (that's one in four) are infected with a sexually transmitted disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control, belies the efficacy of teaching that sex is fine as long as it's "safe."

It never ceases to amaze me that cultural norms regarding sex have virtually supplanted religious norms. It makes me wonder whether churches and youth groups are providing sufficiently strong counter-cultural teachings about sex and marriage.

Of course abortion is the elephant in the room, as it were. Thanks once again to Planned Parenthood, most teens have easy access to abortion. Would sex among teens-and all nonmarital sex for that matter-be as prevalent if abortion didn't exist as a backup plan? Somehow I doubt it.

It was Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who unintentionally hit the nail on the head when writing in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey opinion. She wrote that women had "organized intimate relationships, and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event contraception should fail."

And not just women. Teens, too.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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