Opinion: Preventing unplanned pregnancies helps everyone

Lyndsey Schley

Lyndsey Schley

Lyndsey Schley is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Pregnancy is easily preventable these days, yet unplanned pregnancy is still a common problem with college students.

In the United States, 86 percent of pregnancies amongst unwed women under 20 are unplanned. For women between the ages of 20 and 24, this statistic only lowers to 73 percent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that these mothers, and the fathers of these babies, are likely to have lower incomes, have lower educational attainment and use more financial aid.

The children that result from these pregnancies have even more problems. These children are “more likely to experience poor mental and physical health during childhood, and have lower educational attainment and more behavioral issues in their teen years,” the CDC said.

These situations also cost taxpayers a lot of money. The CDC said the public costs of births from unintended pregnancies were $11 billion in 2006.

While it is important to support young mothers, it would be ideal if we could avoid these young pregnancies in the first place.

Obviously, rape is unavoidable, and I am not talking about that in this column. However, birth control is very available these days, and unplanned pregnancy is avoidable.

If you do not want to get pregnant, always use birth control when having sex. There are plenty of methods to choose from, so look on the Internet and find an option that works for you.

Ideally, use two methods. During sex ed in high school, our instructor strongly encouraged this. If one method fails, the other method should pick up the slack.

Make sure you are using your method properly. Certain actions can reduce the effectiveness of birth control, like using antibiotics while on birth control pills. In these situations, plan ahead and rely on other methods.

Lack of funds is no excuse for not using birth control. While some methods can be expensive, such as IUDs, some methods can be very cheap. A pack of condoms and spermicide will each cost you $15 or less at Walgreens, and many organizations give away free condoms. Some Planned Parenthood locations will charge based on income, making birth control more affordable.

If you cannot afford these things, you simply should not be having sex. A baby will cost far more than the birth control will. The average middle-income family will spend $235,000 to raise a child that was born in 2011 to the age of 17. The parents of the children from these unplanned pregnancies will probably not have that much money to spend on their children, but it puts into perspective how much a child will cost.

While birth control can be very effective, there is no way to completely guarantee that a sexually active woman will not get pregnant. Accidents can happen to even the most careful people. However, proper birth control use can greatly reduce your risks.

We can reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies by making responsible sexual choices. Do some research and learn how to properly protect yourself.