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Jan Diehm Headshot

What Women Don't Know About Birth Control Is Frightening (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Most American women agree with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) when it comes to which birth control method works best: the vast majority say that abstinence is most effective, according to a new survey from The American College of Nurse Midwives.

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Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.

Any method of birth control must be used consistently for it to work, and abstinence has a way of being tricky to implement full-time. When Texas lawmakers replaced a more comprehensive sex education program with "abstinence only" education, teens just started having more sex, and more babies. Texas spends more than a billion dollars a year on unintended births, and the U.S. leads the industrialized world in unintended pregnancies.

If women knew more about birth control options, they might not be getting pregnant by accident so often. Women feel most knowledgeable about abstinence, according to the American College of Nurse Midwives survey, and less than half know much about birth control pills. Only a small fraction know their way around an intrauterine device (IUD) or birth control implant, recognized as the most effective methods by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with fewer than 1 in 100 pregnancies in women who use them.

The contraception "mandate" of the Affordable Care Act that requires employer-provided health-care plans to offer contraception coverage with no co-payment enjoyed theatrical debate during the presidential election season last year, and the fight continues. House Republicans quietly slipped a "conscience clause" into a government spending bill late last month, which would have allowed employers and insurers to opt-out of the requirement for moral reasons. Ultimately the Senate stripped the provision, and Republicans turned to crafting the anti-Obamacare spending bill that led to the shutdown of the federal government.

This story appears in Issue 79 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Dec. 13in the iTunes App store.

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