May 1 is the National Day to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Here are my top three tips for how to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
1. Don’t have sex. Having sex is the number one cause of becoming pregnant. In this day and age, there are actually other ways to become pregnant, which involve a lot of miraculous science, caring doctors, hormonal treatments, and amazingly committed people — but sex is still the number one cause of pregnancy.
2. If you have sex, use protection. While no method is 100 percent effective against pregnancy, using protection can help, well, protect you from pregnancy — and condoms can also help protect you from sexually transmitted infections, which are a good thing to be protected from. It’s not very pleasant to get pregnant without meaning to, then find out you have an STI on top of it. Having an STI can cause problems with the pregnancy, the birth and the baby, not to mention your health. So, if you’re going to have sex, use a condom and some form of hormonal birth control for maximum protection. This applies not only to young people, but also those of you who are older and newly back in the dating scene. Condoms, people. They are your friend. Yes, I’m talking to you.
3. If you have sex, and use protection, and it doesn’t work for some reason, like the condom breaks, or you missed a pill, or you were sexually assaulted, use emergency contraception — which might be harder if you work at Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby is currently involved in some complicated legal proceedings to avoid $1.3 million a day in fines beginning in July if they don’t follow the current law, which requires companies to cover contraceptive options for employees.
Hobby Lobby’s owner, David Green, doesn’t like emergency contraception. He thinks it causes abortions, which isn’t true. See, in order to have an abortion, you have to be pregnant. Emergency contraception doesn’t affect pregnancies that have already occurred. It only prevents them. It’s like a super-duper dose of a birth control pill — like extra protection you’d need in an emergency.
Besides, Hobby Lobby isn’t a church or religious organization, no matter how religious their owner is, so it doesn’t currently get that caveat under the law that religious organizations get to not provide contraceptive coverage. What it does get is its case heard before a full federal court in May, which is unusual, but guess what? Another federal court recently ruled that emergency contraception has to be available to anyone without a prescription.
So if you’re under 17, you can get it now without a prescription — but you still have to ask the pharmacist for it. And, the full federal court is still out on whether your insurance will cover it if you work for Hobby Lobby.
For more information about the National Day to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, as well as resources for teens and parents to talk about prevention, go to http://www.thenationalcampaign.org.