By Amanda Ackerman, LMSW, MPH, Program Associate, EngenderHealth
On November 10, we celebrate the historic and profound impact birth control, also known as contraception, has had for women and families throughout the world. Contraception gives women the incredible power to plan, prevent, and space pregnancies. And nearly all sexually active women in the United States agree, with 99% having used a contraceptive method at some point in their lives!
Women who have access to contraception are more likely to accomplish their educational goals, have healthier children, and earn higher incomes compared with women without access. Based on this evidence, it is clear that access to contraception equals brighter and healthier futures.
Despite the overwhelming benefits and usage, contraception and contraception education are still widely considered taboo topics in most parts of the world. For all women, including young women, access to contraception is a basic human right that should be celebrated and positively promoted. EngenderHealth works across the globe to advance family planning by ensuring that women and families have access to affordable contraceptive options and the ability to make informed choices regarding their health.
In the United States, our U.S. Programs Office partners with school districts, government agencies, health care settings, and local nonprofits to bring comprehensive sex education, emphasizing contraceptive choice, to young people in Central Texas. Our two signature programs, Gender Matters and Our Stories, Your Choices, use a gender-transformative approach to reduce unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and relationship violence by employing youth development and empowerment approaches to engage young people in making informed choices about their own sexual health. In an environment where contraception and sexual health are rarely formally discussed, both programs educate youth about the most widely accessible contraceptive methods, where to obtain them, and how to properly use them. Our curricula also empower youth with practical activities around contraception, including opportunities for youth to schedule an appointment with a clinic, role-play negotiating contraceptive use with a partner, and participate in a condom demonstration and contraceptive scavenger hunt.
Giving all people accurate information and access to contraceptive options empowers autonomous choices that decrease unplanned pregnancies, STIs, and violence and increase achievement of goals and realized dreams! And as we know, all of these outcomes lead to healthier people and a healthier society. So, one last huge THANK YOU to birth control and all that you do to strengthen our world!
Tweet at us @EngenderHealth with why you’re grateful for contraception, using the hashtags #ThxBirthControl and #WheresTheFP. If you want to help spread the word, visit Bedsider.org for more resources and information on ways to get involved.