Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar put it best when talking about birth control: “It’s something I would eventually love. In the meantime, I just borrow all my friends’ kids. It’s seriously the best birth control in the world. I’m so tired afterwards, I’m like, ‘okay, maybe in another two years.’”
According to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate in the United States is at a new low, the lowest it has been in 40 years.
“Rather, the decline in abortions coincided with a steep national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates,” said Rachel Jones, lead author of the study. “Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as the IUD. Moreover, the recent recession led many women and couples to want to avoid or delay pregnancy and childbearing.”
Women seem to be more aware of the consequences that follow sexual intimacy and either are not having sex or are using all the precautions for having safe sex. More women are learning that abortion is not the only choice for an unwanted pregnancy. The Right to Life movement is very successful because more and more Americans are agreeing that aborting babies is wrong.
Between 2011 and 2013, 205 abortion restrictions have been enacted by states all over the country. “Over the past three years, we have seen an unparalleled attack on abortion rights at the state level, and these new restrictions are making it harder for women to access services and for providers to keep clinic doors open,” says Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at Guttmacher, to CNN.
MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” seems to be an active contraceptive for many teenagers and adults. A study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research says “16 and Pregnant” ultimately led to a 5.7% reduction in teen births in the 18 months after its premiere on television. “This would account for about one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the United States during that period,” researchers Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine concluded.
This television show began airing in June 2009 and ended in October 2013. The show follows one teen every episode and follows her during and after pregnancy and is filmed documentary style. It captures the trials and tribulations of being a teenage mom, helping the viewer to understand the daily responsibilities of caring for an infant and how different their world would be if they became a mom.
With the birthrate at an all-time low, Vanguard has changed its stance on pregnancy of unmarried students: “If a student becomes pregnant, she, or someone she knows, is encouraged to talk with a Dean, Resident Director or other Student Life staff member. The Student Life office is ready to help and offer support to those involved and effectively work through the complexity of needs that a pregnancy presents. Additional confidential support through the Vanguard Counseling Center and other campus services are available, along with academic support. While some students in these circumstances may choose to leave the university temporarily, it is our hope that any student who chooses to continue in classes during the pregnancy will find this to be a supportive and redemptive community.” (Found on page 27 of the student handbook)
Vanguard is taking a much more supportive roll if female students are pregnant, encouraging students to keep the child rather than abort it. This new stance is more accepting than in the past; historically, the Dean of students has always made the final decision on how to deal with student pregnancy. In some cases, students were allowed to finish out the semester but were not allowed to return the following year.