According to the Center for Disease Control, 62% of females that are of reproductive age and are sexually active use some kind of contraceptive to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy (ones, Mosher, and Daniels, p 1). Most women using contraceptives prefer oral contraceptives. This is evident because oral contraceptives hold the birth control market captive with 28. 7 percent of women using contraceptives preferring this method (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 1). Since the late 1970s, the number of women who use oral contraceptives has been steadily increasing (Grimley an Lee 771).
The Center for Disease Control attributes the increased usage of wide varieties of birth control for the teenage birth rate’s dramatic declining in the past three decades, while also citing an increase in sexual education in schools (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 2). In 1995, 56 of 1000 teenage females, ages 15-19, found themselves victims of unintentional teenage pregnancies (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 2). The rate of unintentional pregnancies fell intensely in the next 15 years to just 34 of 1000 teenage females in 2010 (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 2).
The increased usage of oral contraceptives and all birth control methods along with the advocacy for sexual education in U. S. high schools have obviously had a positive effect on teenage pregnancy. The promotion of pregnancy prevention is important, but the availability of affordable, favorable, and effective birth control methods is of the utmost importance. An average woman, specifically a teenage woman, in America today had limited options when it comes to birth control methods that are offered without a prescription from a doctor.
If they do not wish to communicate with their parents about their sexual activity or have a parent attend a doctor’s appointment with them specifically for the purpose of obtaining a prescription for birth control, they must use options that are available for purchase easily over the counter. Additionally, many families do not have the funds necessary or cannot afford missing work to visit the doctor’s office for anything other than an emergency. For women in these families, no other option exists except finding an alternative, non-prescription method for effective birth control.
These women are left with three basic options; condoms, Plan B Emergency Birth Control, and the natural family planning method. Condoms are the most unreliable form of birth control that is currently used, other than to ineffective “withdrawal” method (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 3). Within the first 12 months of using any new form of birth control, the odds of getting unintentionally pregnant are astronomically higher than after the first full year (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 3).
Most failures of condoms within the first 12 months are caused by user error, but this is still a concern for even the most knowledgeable women. 17. 9 percent of those using condoms as their preferred type of birth control fall victim to unintended pregnancy within the first 12 months of use because they did not use the method properly Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 3). Although after one year of use the odds of improper usage and unintended pregnancy decrease substantially, this is a far most risky form of birth control than most women who are careful.
For a conscientious woman whom has just become or is thinking of becoming sexually active and is looking for a reliable birth control method, prescription birth control pills are far more effective than condoms at preventing unwanted pregnancies. Birth controls pills are the second most effective form of birth control in the first year of use, with only 8. 7 percent of all users experiencing unwanted pregnancy due to improper usage, directly behind the birth control injection Depo-Provera, or Medroxyprogesterone, which has an unintended pregnancy due to improper usage rate of just 6. percent (Jones, Mosher, and Daniels p 3). Plan B Emergency Birth Control, commonly called “the morning-after pill,” is not a practical option for the average sexually active women, as prices range from 35 to 60 dollars for a single dose. Because the price of this option is so high, using emergency contraceptives after every sexual act is just not probable or possible for the average woman to afford. Also, one can only purchase Plan B in single doses, so a woman or her partner would have to visit the pharmacy after every occurrence.
Plan B also has age restrictions variant on the state one lives in, so teenagers are unable to purchase this product on their own. Teenagers that do not meet the age restrictions who would like to use Plan B Emergency Contraceptives must find a willing adult to purchase their birth control for them. Consequently, the medication will be taken later than if the teenager could pick the medication by herself without the help of a third party, and a third party buyings the medication up could lead to improper use because she was not the person who received the usage instructions directly from the pharmacist.
Oral contraceptives have a long history in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of oral contraceptive for the use of birth control in 1960, four years after the drug was approved only as a menstrual cycle symptom management drug (Nikolchev np). By 1965, the oral contraceptive pill was the most popular form of birth control in the United States after just five years on the market (Nikolchev np). Over fifty years later, despite a short spell of unpopularity in the 1970s due to unforeseen side effects, oral contraceptives are still the most popular form of birth control in the United States (Nikolchev np).
Birth Control is a widely-used drug that over half of all females use in the United States, despite the hoops many must jump through in order to find effective methods. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement in 2012 officially announcing their support of changing the availability status of birth control pills from prescription to over-the-counter because of their relative safety and wide usage across the country (Neergaard np).
The FDA should approve Birth Control pills for distribution over-thecounter because the pill is safe and after over half a century is still the most popular form of contraceptive on the market. As Utah Representative Mia Love stated about her proposed bill to offer birth control over-the-counter, “We have to give our women as many choices as possible” (Golden np). There are two main types of birth control pills available today; combined oral contraceptive pills, which contain both estrogen and progestin hormones and vary in effectiveness and type, and progestinonly oral contraceptive pills.
Both types of oral contraceptive birth control pills have the same general rules. Pills must be taken daily around the same time for them to remain effective. This means the pill needs to be taken within the same threehour time frame every day in order for them to work properly. They are discreet, leave women using them with the option to start, stop, and pause them whenever they choose, and are very easy to use. Combined oral contraceptives are the most popular type of oral birth control.
They offer effective birth control that is affordable to most women, with packs ranging from 5-50 dollars, depending on the type (Palmer np). There are different types of birth control out there. Some regulate the menstrual cycle for a normal 28 days and some regulate the menstrual cycle to last for up to a full year, meaning the user would only experience one period a year. All brands have a different blend of the two main female hormones, estrogen and progestin, and some even add vitamins and minerals like iron to help manage the users’ menstrual symptoms like anemia.
Some pills even change the amount of each hormone daily or weekly to more naturally simulate the body’s normal cycle, but all while providing protection from unwanted pregnancy and adding vitamins and minerals to the users’ daily routines. In addition to providing basic birth control protection and managing one’s menstrual cycle, the FDA has approved the use of combined oral contraceptives to help the women taking them with various other problems they may suffer from. These problems include acne, excessive menstrual blood loss, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms (Association of Reproductive Health Professionals np).
In addition to these benefits, combined oral contraceptive also reduce the risk of ectopic pregnancies, endometrial and ovarian cancers, benign breast conditions, and pelvic inflammatory disease (Association of Reproductive Health Professionals np). The short list of side effects are as follows; possible spotting or breakthrough bleeding, increased PMS symptoms such as cramping, tender breasts, and bloating, and in extreme cases blood clotting (Association of Reproductive Health Professionals np). The chances of having these side effects drop staggeringly after the first few cycles (Association of Reproductive Health Professionals np).
The second type of oral contraceptives, progestin-only pills, are more straightforward than combined oral contraceptives. Though they only provide the user with basic birth control protection and manage their menstrual cycle, they are still a very effective, affordable, and popular. They are mainly prescribed to women whom are experiencing unwanted side effects with pills containing estrogen, as estrogen is usually the culprit for the side effects similar to regular PMS symptoms, and with women whom are allergic or intolerant to manufactured estrogen (Association of Reproductive Health Professionals np).