Apparently, more and more teen girls are popping pills -- birth control pills, that is.
A Thomson Reuters study released this past March reported that 18 percent of girls ages 13 to 18 were on some form of oral contraceptive in 2009. These figures represent a 50 percent increase in birth control prescriptions since 2002 -- a mere seven years earlier.
Good Morning America’s Elisabeth Hasselback explored the debate surrounding this trend, speaking to doctors, moms and the teens themselves. The primary motivation behind putting teen girls on birth control (in many cases the parents seem to be active participants in making this decision) is the fear that they will end up with an unplanned pregnancy -- the type of scenario that is splashed across the small screen in MTV television hits “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant.”
This is not necessarily an unfounded fear, as approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies occur each year in the United States, many of which are not intentional. And as of 2009, 46 percent of high school students reported being sexually active.
“No matter how much I tell her and talk to her, she doesn’t know what’s going to happen when she’s with a boy and it all happens too fast,” one mother, who recently made a gynecological appointment for her 13-year-old daughter, said to Good Morning America.
When making the decision to go on the pill -- or to put one’s daughter on the pill -- an array of considerations come into play including sexual pressure and the possible side effects that these pills might have on young women in the long-run. Even the common, short-term side effects of hormone-based contraceptives can be an unpleasant impediment to a teen’s daily life and may include weight gain, soreness, mood swings and nausea.
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