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No parent is dying for her baby girl to start having sex, but the reality is that teens are interested in, and often start having, sex. According to the Atlantic, parents favor the pill over other methods, even if it’s not the most reliable form of contraception available.

Parents of girls aged 12 to 17 were asked, “If your teen’s doctor found out your daughter was having sex, is it acceptable or unacceptable to you for the doctor to provide birth control to your teen confidentially?” Researchers then asked them to rate on a scale of 1 to 4 the kind of contraception they would prefer for their daughters. Parents who most recognized their teen’s autonomy were most likely to accept their daughters using birth control in the first place. Fifty-nine percent of parents were most comfortable with the pill, followed by 51 percent who preferred condoms; 46 preferred injectable birth control; 45 percent chose emergency contraception; 43 percent preferred the patch; 32 percent were in favor of an implant and just 18 percent of parents asked preferred IUDs.

In recent years, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has started endorsing the IUD and the implant as the safest and most effective forms of reversible birth control of women of all reproductive ages. The IUD’s noticeable unpopularity seems to indicate parents are still remember the IUDs of the 1970s, which were linked to infertility and even death. IUDs are a better choice than the pill for teens because the pill is most effective when taken at the same time each day. Teens aren’t always able to do that.

And while parents prefer a hormonal method of birth control for their daughters, they don’t protect against STDs and most doctors recommend non-monogamous patients use a barrier method as well as a hormonal method of birth control. But the researchers found that the less parents approved of their girls getting birth control, the less likely they were to be in favor of condoms. On the other hand, parents who thought their daughters would be sexually active within the next year were more likely to be in favor of the morning after pill and condoms. It seems these parents thought of their daughters’ sexual activity as a one-off thing rather than an ongoing change in their lives.

The very beginning of the study read,”The incidence of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remains high among adolescents.” Study authors hope this sobering fact will force parents to recognize the importance of condoms as well as other more permanent or invasive methods.

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