Debate has raged aplenty recently over teen pregnancy — and whether girls are getting knocked up just to get on TV’s Teen Mom (even though studies say the show’s companion series, 16 and Pregnant, is more likely to scare kids into contraception, and teen birth rates are dropping). But there’s another concerning, if less scandalizing, birth rate that’s on the rise: that of 20-somethings who have unplanned pregnancies.
Yes, they’re technically adults, and they don’t have to walk through high school halls with swollen bellies. Sometimes, they have jobs, and maybe even apartments, which helps a little. But among unmarried women in their 20s, a full 7 out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy — which means their own future plans are cut short, their relationships with the fathers are often forced, and their babies are affected by it all. Especially at a time when many 20-somethings are still living with their parents and undermployed, at best, this fact is almost as serious a problem as teen pregnancy.
And what it really means is that people in their 20s aren’t doing enough to protect themselves from pregnancy even though they don’t want kids. Only half of unmarried young adults surveyed by The National Campaign reported using contraception every time; many don’t know much about their options or think that “it doesn’t matter whether you use birth control or not; when it is your time to get pregnant it will happen.” Even among those who say it’s important to them to avoid pregnancy, 34 percent say it’s likely they’ll have unprotected sex in the near future!
At a time when Congress is halfway to cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood nationwide, this is extraordinarily troubling. How many more unplanned pregnancies will we have among under-insured, under-informed young adults if the main organization handling such issues is shut down?