So, on Stuff.co.nz this morning there was an article titled ‘Implant to protect against teen pregnancies’, about the Jadelle implant (which I have written about previously). I understand that Family Planning hopes it will tackle teen pregancy rates, and I agree that this is one of the benefits of it. But it is also important for us to remember that this implant, which lasts for 5 years, is also a nice option to have available for women in long-term relationships; and one such woman is quoted in the article, saying that being someone in a long-term relationship who doesn’t want kids makes it a good choice for her. I suppose maybe I am just being pedantic about the article’s title, which to me somehow seems like it’s a bit close to “teen pregnancy epidemic!11!” territory.
Tha article also has some opinions from people opposed to the implants (for teenagers, specifically)
But there are growing concerns the implant will lull teenagers into a false sense of security, leading to further increases in STIs, particularly chlamydia.
STIs have already reached epidemic proportions, said Andrea Hunt, the area manager for Yrchoice, a life skills programme which targets year nine and ten students from Taranaki schools and encourages them to make healthy sexual choices.
“Like similar methods of contraception, it may prevent pregnancy – but it won’t prevent STIs,” she warned.
“There is a possibility that young people may think pregnancy is the worse thing that can happen to them, and not be aware of other dangers.”
To be honest, I don’t really think this is a good argument, because exactly the same thing is said about the pill all the time by people who are anti-contraceptive pill, and if you took away all contraception that didn’t protect against STI’s then you are essentially robbing women of their choice. I do think that adding another alternative is a good thing, because this may be the perfecct option for someone out there, and women having reproductive freedom makes me happy. And yes, I do acknowledge that Jadelle (obviously) wont protect against STI’s, but I also think it seems unlikely that it will make a lot of teen girls go out and have unprotected (against STI’s) sex who wouldn’t have already done so. Yes, some people do think pregnancy is the worst thing that can come from having sex, but it seems unlikely that Jadelle will add to this. Women who ignore STI risks like that can do so while on the pill, or any number of other contraceptive methods too, and from there is becomes a slippery slope towards saying only condoms are ok for contraception. (Note: obviously, I am an advocate for condoms, and testing, and taking care of your reproductive health, and disclosure, and communication with partners. But I am also an advocate for choice, and trusting women).
This, I feel, sums up my attitude towards the situation:
But nurse practitioner Lou Roebuck, of youth health clinic Waves, said the risk of getting STIs while using the implant was no different from that of IUDs or injections. Waves provides sexual health services for people as young as 10.
“We see most young people being responsible about their sexual health these days.This is a really good, low cost option which is perfect for young people or people who have finished having their family.”
Woo hoo, options!
Anyway, what I really wanted to mention was this quote near the end of the article:
Student Alice Turnbull, 20, said she would be horrified if she fell pregnant but doesn’t want anything inserted under her skin.”I don’t want to be crazy and get into conspiracy theories. But this could be one way of starting to track people. You’re just trusting the people who administer it.”
I’m with her on the not wanting something inserted under my skin part, but then she lost me a little bit…I don’t know if Jadelle implants have GPS devices in them, or if people would be able to run a barcode scanner over you and know your information. It’s only 2010 after all; not quite at the hovercraft transportation dystopian future yet. (Although, speaking of contraceptive implants/tracking, you should totally check out The Carhullan Army).