For the past fourteen years, teen births in the United States has enjoyed a low rating. However, in 2007, this low birth rate was disrupted as there is a sudden surge in the number of teenagers getting pregnant. Based on the record of the National Center for Health Statistics, there is a three percent increase among 15 to 19 year-old girls from 2005 to 2006 after a thirty-four percent decrease between the years 1991 to 2005 (Riley, n.pag.).
According to government officials and physicians concerned with teen health, there is a need for a better sex education among teens for them to be able to fully understand the consequences of having sex and the responsibilities that go along with it. There is also a need to advocate for abstinence or the “shunning away” from any sexual act to decrease the number of teens who are getting preganant. It has been observed that sex education among teens focuses only on the use of contraceptives and does not promote abstinence, which according to physicians, is the best solution to the problem on teen pregnancies.
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According to Hirsch (n.pag.), abstinence is the safest way of not getting pregnant as this will prevent the egg and sperm cells from meeting and connecting with each other. Without the connection of the egg and sperm cells, pregnancy will be impossible.
Aside from this, there are also other advantages of abstinence. Among these are the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, infertility and the development of cancer of the cervix. It has been medically found out that women who engage in sex during their younger years have higher risk of developing cancer as compared to those who don’t.
Abstinence is the practice or commitment of two single persons not to engage in pre-marital sex. Unlike most birth control methods that rely on pills and equipment to take effect, abstinence requires self-control and a strong commitment to inhibit from any sexual act.
Many medical practitioners and parents advocate abstinence among the teens because it is the most ideal method where they can be sure that teen pregnancy can be eliminated or, if not, reduced. It is healthy and safe as compared to other birth control methods which rely on medications and equipments.
Aside from this, it is also the only birth control method that is advocated by the Catholic faith and other religious beliefs. However, this method seem to be very difficult to follow especially for teenagers who are at their aggressive stage and are in the mood for experimentation and experience. It is very difficult for them to control their emotions especially if they are not deeply grounded morally and have not fully understood the pros and cons of sex and abstinence, thus, making the promising effect of this method useless.
There are actually other forms of birth control methods aside from abstinence that could help reduce teen pregnancies and these include the following: information based methods, barrier methods, hormonal methods and longterm methods.
The information based birth control are methods that are underpinned on facts such as the occurrence of pregnancy and how the female and male reporductive organs work. They include lactation amenorrhea method, withdrawal and natural family planning. Barrier methods,on the other hand, prevent the egg and sperm cells from meeting and some can also be used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. There are male and female condoms, diaphragms, cervical and female caps, lea’s shield and spermicides. The hormonal method includes birth control pill, shot, patch and ring and emergency contraceptive pills.
They work in varying ways, but essentially their two main functions are to keep the eggs from leaving the ovary and change the mucus created in the cervix to kill the sperm and prevent it from travelling to the egg. The long term methods which are the sterilization methods, intra-uterine devices and implants function for several years, some even permanently. These methods work well in preventing pregnancy but unlike other methods, it does not provide protection against HIV or STD (Teen source, n.pag.).