Pregnancy Prevention

This young 18 year old knows better than anyone that it takes more than words to prevent pregnancy, and that the on and off use of condoms doesn't work.

So with first hand experience, Bristol Palin chooses an abstinence message rather than a multi-pronged prevention approach. I wonder why.

She says that if a young woman had a trial baby in her hands all day long, she'd restrain herself and not have sex.

Well, it don't work that way, Ms. Palin.

Abstinence only programs are an abysmal failure.

Robotic dolls have been used in teen programs for numerous years that cry, need diapers changed, and seem as real as a new born.

Planned Parenthood did an international study of teen pregnancies, perhaps 7 or so years ago, and I sat down with one of their study group leaders over coffee in the summer of '02 in Portland to discuss the findings.

European teens were less likely to get pregnant and more often delayed sex. A large percentage of American teens had sex as early as 14 years of age.

The study delved into the whys.

Several differences in philosophy came to light:

- abstinence only programs are not touted as the be-all, end-all in most Western European countries
- European teens appeared to set higher, long term personal goals
- planned pregnancy seemed more likely in some of the Western European countries
- sex was seen as normal and
- not having sex also appeared normal when in school or preparing for a future in at least 2 to 5 of those Western European countries observed (see 2 above)

With little attention paid to prevention of any kind is it any wonder we have so many unplanned pregnancies?

It has been demonstrated in repeated studies that espousing (and funding) unrealistic goals contributes to more unintended pregnancies than healthy, inclusive, prevention programs that offer the introduction of birth control practices.

Can we change our health care system to include more prevention programs, and a fully funded program for teen pregnancy, STDs/STIs, etc?

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