The student news site of Owatonna High School.

A perception on contraception

March 3, 2015

Sex is a touchy subject, and students would much rather physically do something instead of asking because asking can get kind of embarrassing. “Over half of all teens are sexually active, and a large portion of the other half are seriously thinking about it, or simply lying,” according to WebMD. Sex education is slightly talked about in health class, but it does not go as in depth as say, talking to a parent would. That is why it is also important to have a conversation at home about this important topic. In a new poll released from Planned Parenthood, 82 percent of parents have talked to their children about topics related to sexuality.

It is good to talk about feelings, attitudes and values. A lot of teenagers assume they are ready for sex because of peer pressure, curiosity or loneliness. Music videos, movies, reality shows and online porn are also to blame for the curiosity rising up in teenagers. Research shows that the more sexual content teenagers get exposed to, the earlier they are likely to have sex. It is an adult behavior, and some teenagers want to be treated like an adult.

If conversations with parents are not enough, teenagers can find help right here at the OHS. Anna Durst, OHS nurse, said, “Kids can always come in here for help, and we can help guide them as to what to do and where to go.” Another alternative would be Planned Parenthood. Owatonna used to have Planned Parenthood that allowed anybody to go in and get birth control. Since we no longer have one here, the nearest location is in Rochester. But, most teenagers are not going to want to drive that far, especially on the cold, wintery roads. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic here in Owatonna is an option. Although, if insurance does not cover it, it could get quite spendy.

According to Planned Parenthood, “Birth control comes in various forms and costs various amounts of money. Just a few examples include the implant, patch, shot, condom and pill.” The implant is a match stick sized rod that is inserted into the arm. This can cost anywhere from nothing to $800 and last about three years. The patch sticks to the skin on your stomach, upper arm or back. This costs roughly nothing to $80 a month. The shot injects estrogen and progestin into the body to prevent pregnancy. This method can cost up to $150. Condoms are also a form of contraception that cost about 10 dollars. The pill is taken daily to prevent pregnancy and costs anywhere from nothing to $50 a month.

In Minnesota, the pregnancy rate has declined 58 percent and adolescent birth rates have gone down about 50 percent. Research proves that adolescents who become parents are less likely to achieve educational goals which may have longer lasting effects on their own children’s development. Teens are waiting on sex and choosing to use of the most effective forms of contraception. According to Mayo Clinic, “There are many other ways to show affection besides sex. A few suggestions are intimate talks, long walks, holding hands, listening to music together, dancing, kissing, touching and hugging.” The Mayo Clinic, family doctor, school nurse, and in some communities, Planned Parenthood, can help teenagers understand safe sex and make sure they understand and use contraception.

If a teenager goes to Planned Parenthood, and they do not have insurance, Planned Parenthood offers Medicaid which provides free or low cost health coverage for low income individuals or families that make an income below 16,242 dollars. Once one has been enrolled into an insurance plan, they can set up an appointment to find the right form of birth control on a case by case basis.

Teen pregnancy can be prevented. In 2012, there were an average of nine babies born to Minnesota teens every day, although a new report says the state’s teen birth rate has fallen dramatically. The reasoning for this decrease is attributed to teenagers using the right type of contraception and using it regularly. Research is also pointing out that teens are also waiting longer to have sex.

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