January 21, 2005

Fewer Women Use Birth Control

Print More

How careful are you? If you did not use protection the last time you had sex, you are not alone. The government’s latest in-depth analysis of contraceptive use in the United States found that the number of women who had had sex in the past three months without the use of birth control had risen from 5.2 percent in 1995 to 7.4 percent in 2002.

According to MSNBC, the survey included more than 7600 women and suggested that as many as 11 percent of all women are at risk for unintended pregnancy at some point during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44).

Most Cornell students regard this news as a reinforcement of the behavior they already practice.

“You’ve gotta use a condom; it’s ridiculous not to,” said one Cornell student upon hearing about the study.

Several other students laughed when hearing the findings, commenting, “I have no interest in spending my money on diapers right now.”

Stasi Lubansky, adult nurse practitioner, N.Y. Presbyterian Health Center, said that she found these findings “very surprising,” interjecting that, “people tend to be reckless in college but basically everybody’s using something.” Furthermore, “there’s a big push…on the part of health care providers to provide health education,” Lubansky said.

A possible explanation for the findings, then, may be that the population whose contraception usage has decreased may be older women, who were not in school when health education was not a high priority in schools.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate for teens decreased in the same 1995-2002 time frame used in the study.

Similarly, a study done by the Center for Disease Control found that the births by the youngest teens (mothers aged 10-14) was at its lowest level in the last 60 years for the time frame between 1990 and 2002.

Other possible reasons for the trend of moving away from contraceptive use might be an increase in the number of women trying to get pregnant and the cost of oral contraceptives.

Lubansky, though surprised by the findings, said that “there are a lot of variables,” and admittedly works with a crowd she described as “young, educated, working people with health insurance.”

Here at Cornell, Gannett has not seen a similar trend.

“Our patient interest in contraceptives … continues,” said Gannett Health Educator Nina Cummings.

Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun Senior Writer