Number of high school girls who use Plan B ‘morning after’ pills has DOUBLED in a decade, CDC data suggests

Photo of author
Written By Rivera Claudia

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

  • The rise in morning after pill use could be because condom use has dropped
  • But the percentage of teen males and females dropped over the survey period 
  • READ MORE: Antidepressants could stunt teenagers’ developing sexuality

The number of teens using the ‘morning after pill’ has more than doubled in less than two decades, despite fewer teens being sexually active. 

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows both male and female teens between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are having less sex, but they are reaching for emergency contraception more to prevent unwanted pregnancies. 

Teens reporting having used the morning after pill in 2002 was eight percent. Between 2015 and 2019, that number surged to 22 percent. 

But fewer teens are hopping into bed together: The percentage of females in the age group reporting ever having sex fell from 45.4 percent in 2002 to 40.5 percent between 2015 and 2019 – the latest years surveyed. 

For teen males, the drop was larger. In 2002, 46 percent reported ever having sex, but that number dropped to 39 percent between 2015 and 2019. 

The above shows the percentage use of different types of birth control among female teens from 2002 to 2019

The above shows the percentage change in how many male and female teens 15 to 19 years old have ever had sex from 2002 to 2019

The above shows the percentage change in how many male and female teens 15 to 19 years old have ever had sex from 2002 to 2019

Male and female teens between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are having less sex, but they are reaching for emergency contraception more to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Male and female teens between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are having less sex, but they are reaching for emergency contraception more to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

An explanation for the rise in the morning after pill, despite falling numbers of teens having sex, could be because the use of condoms and birth control pills has dropped. 

While overall condom use over the four years studied was up overall, female teens were less likely to report having used one in the previous three months when surveyed compared to 2002. 

Females reporting using a condom during sex in the previous three months dropped slightly from 52.5 percent in 2002 to just below 50 percent between 2015 and 2019. Among males, the drop was 70 percent to 68 percent. 

Birth control pill use among girls dropped over the entire length of the survey – from 35 percent in 2002 to 30 percent in 2015-2019. 

However, overall contraception use, which includes emergency methods, among both sexes has increased. In 2002, 83 percent of female teens aged 15 to 19 reported using any method of birth control in the previous three months. Between 2015 and 2019, that number rose to 90 percent. 

For males, 90 percent used any form of birth control in 2002 compared to 94 percent between 2015 and 2019. 

But, teen girls may have replaced their pills with other increasingly popular hormonal birth control, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or an implant. 

An IUD is a small plastic device inserted into the uterus that can protect against pregnancy for three to 10 years. It releases small amounts of hormones into the uterus to prevent sperm from fertilizing eggs and is more than 99 percent effective. 

A birth control implant is a very small rod inserted under the skin in a woman’s arm to prevent pregnancy for up to four years. It releases small amounts of hormones to prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs and prevents sperm from reaching eggs. 

The above shows the method of birth control used among female teens during their first sexual intercourse

The above shows the method of birth control used among female teens during their first sexual intercourse

Plan B, as well as other levonorgestrel contraception, is available at drugstores and pharmacies and people do not need a prescription to obtain it. It is available over the counter and can be bought by someone of any age or gender

Plan B, as well as other levonorgestrel contraception, is available at drugstores and pharmacies and people do not need a prescription to obtain it. It is available over the counter and can be bought by someone of any age or gender

Plan B and other similar emergency medications containing the hormone can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but are more effective the sooner you take them

Plan B and other similar emergency medications containing the hormone can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but are more effective the sooner you take them

The figures came before the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, which stripped American women of their right to an abortion, which is thought to have had a significant impact on contraceptive use.

The CDC data revealed 15- to 19-year-old girls were more upset over a hypothetical pregnancy in 2015-2019 (30 percent) than they were between 2011 and 2015 (28 percent).

The rise was also reflected among men, with 34 percent saying they would be upset in 2011-2015, compared to 36 percent in 2015-2019. 

Emergency contraception – sometimes referred to as the morning after pill – is a medication taken after intercourse when no other form of birth control was used or the method used failed, such as a condom breaking. 

The most well-known form of emergency contraception is Plan B. The pill contains the hormone levonorgestrel, which is used to prevent pregnancy by stopping a woman’s egg from fully developing, delaying ovulation or preventing the egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus, reducing chances of sperm fertilizing it. 

Plan B and other similar emergency medications containing the hormone can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but are more effective the sooner you take them. 

And emergency contraception containing the hormone may not be effective if the person taking it is heavier than 165pounds.  

Plan B, as well as other levonorgestrel contraception, is available at drugstores and pharmacies and people do not need a prescription to obtain it. It is available over the counter and can be bought by someone of any age or gender.

Most commonly it comes as either a single pill to be swallowed and typically costs between $40 and $50. 

Side effects are uncommon but can include a headache, upset stomach, dizziness and a change in your normal menstrual cycle. 

While emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, it does not effect a woman’s ability to become pregnant at another time. 

Four in ten 18- to 30-year-olds in California have not had sex in a YEAR

A nationally representative survey showed in 2021, 38 percent of people aged 18 to 30 reported having no sexual partners in the prior 12 months, up from 29 percent in 2019. 

Advertisement

Teens aren’t the only ones having less sex. A nationally representative study in California found in 2021 – the latest data available – 38 percent of people aged 18 to 30 years old reported having no sexual partners in the previous 12 months. This represented a 29 percent increase from 2019. 

While 20 percent of older adults also reported no sexual partners in the pervious 12 months, it was only up slightly from 18 percent in 2020. 

Researchers have speculated the rising cost of living after the pandemic has forced younger people to live with their families longer and spend more time online, reducing opportunities to have sex. 

The rising notion of long distance digital relationships and attitudes favoring long-term relationships could also explain the decline in sexual activity. 

But this slump in Americans’ sex lives may be a driving force behind the country’s dwindling birth rate. 

Births across the US have been on the decline for years, plummeting 22 percent nationwide since 2007, data suggests — and the downward trend has prompted warnings the US is now on an irreversible path of economic decline. 

In 2007, the birth rate was 14.3 births per 1,000 people nationwide. By 2022, the most recent data, this dropped to just 11.1 per 1,000 people. 

With the falling birth rate and rising number of aging people in the US, economists fear Americans could see a rise in taxes to cover programs for the elderly like social security and Medicare, leading to less disposable income to bolster spending.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

SOURCE

Leave a Comment