By Candace Pinto (she/her), 15 years old, editor
September 25, 2023
Every year on September 26, we celebrate World Contraception Day (WCD), a global effort to raise awareness about a vital issue: access to contraceptives. Launched in 2007, WCD is an international campaign working to achieve more comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education around contraception, as well as to empower people to make healthy decisions for their lives and future.
Why does this matter to teenagers?
Education about and access to contraceptives is always important, but it has become even more so recently since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protected the right to have a safe and legal abortion in the United States. Contraceptives give us a say in when and how we choose to have children.
For many of us, much of sex education happens in school. However, this does not mean that it always includes adequate information about contraceptives (translation: various methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies). “Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) require sex education and/or HIV education,” according to the Guttmacher Institute. But what about the other states?
In fact, of the 38 states that require sex education, only 20 of them and Washington, DC require that information on contraception be included. So, even if your school offers sex education, you may not hear about the value of contraceptives, let alone all the options available.
Instead of trying to prevent teens from hearing about sex, it would be helpful for schools to provide comprehensive education (including about contraception), which can help teens make informed decisions if and when they decide to have sex.
I don’t think learning about contraception “encourages” anything except how to make good decisions to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The truth is that many adolescents do They decide to have sex, and shouldn’t they have this information? Even for those who don’t have sex, it’s important to know how to prepare for the future. World Contraception Day focuses on this so that people can start thinking and researching the types of contraceptives and how they work.
There are several types of contraceptives available. You can always opt for abstinence as well, but if you decide to have vaginal sex, there are many options to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
A note: While birth control is important for vaginal sex, condoms can help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with any type of sex, including vaginal, anal, and oral. The only type of contraceptive that prevents both unwanted pregnancies and STIs is the condom.
The variety of contraceptives available can be overwhelming, as well as understanding how they work and which one may be best for you and your body. If one way doesn’t seem right for you, there are other options that may be just as effective and better suited for you.
To learn more, watch this video and chart. You can always talk to a healthcare provider for more information.
So, celebrate WCD for promoting contraceptive awareness and encouraging people to make appropriate, safe, and educated decisions for themselves!