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Teen interest in long-acting birth control soars after Roe

Sixteen-year-old Adismarys Abreu had been talking with her mother about a long-acting contraceptive implant for about a year as a potential solution to increased menstrual pain.

Then Roe v. Wade was overruled, and Abreu joined the throng of teenagers rushing to their doctors when states began to ban or severely limit abortion.

“I’m definitely not ready to get pregnant,” said Abreu, who had Nexplanon, a reversible contraceptive the size of a matchstick, implanted in her arm in August. Her home state of Florida bans most abortions after 15 weeksand not having that option is “such a scary thought,” he said.

The experts say the June ruling of the US Supreme Court. appears to be accelerating a trend of increased use of contraception among adolescents, including long-acting reversible forms such as intrauterine devices and implants. Appointments have increased and Planned Parenthood has been inundated with questions, as doctors report that there is demand even among teens who are not sexually active.

Some patients are especially scared because new abortion laws in several states do not include exceptions for sexual assault.

“Please, I need birth control in case I’m raped,” patients tell Dr. Judith Simms-Cendan, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist in Miami, where state law provides no exceptions for rape or incest after rape. 15 weeks.

Simms-Cendan, president-elect of the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, said previously hesitant parents now want to talk about birth control.

“It’s a radical change from, ‘I don’t have room to play. We have to put my son on something,’” she said.

Teens were already switching to more effective forms of long-acting birth control, which have similar or even lower failure rates than sterilization, said Laura Lindberg, a professor at Rutgers University School of Public Health in New Sweater. Their research found that the number of 15- to 19-year-olds using these methods increased to 15% during the period from 2015 to 2019, compared to 3% during the period from 2006 to 2010.

No national data is available for the months since Roe was struck down, said Lindberg, who previously worked for nearly two decades at the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

But he said “significant knock-on effects” should be expected from the loss of access to abortion, noting that it would not be the first time the policy has led to a change in the use of birth control.

In the weeks after former President Donald Trump was elected, as women raised concerns online that the Affordable Care Act would be repeated, demand for long-acting contraceptives jumped nearly 22% across all groups old, according to a 2019 study. investigation letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

In Ohio, where a judge this month blocked the ban on virtually all abortionspatients, both men and women, now listen intently to the talk on contraception that Dr. Peggy Stager has long made a part of routine appointments at her pediatric practice in Cleveland.

Stager said his practice’s dedicated Nexplanon implant slots fill up constantly, and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since Roe was struck down. Recently, he spoke with a college student who was not sexually active but decided to get an IUD anyway.

“She was very clear: ‘I want to have four wonderful years without any worries,'” recalled Stager, chair of the section on adolescent health at the American Academy of Pediatrics. “And that’s a change.”

In Missouri, one of the first states in the country with a trigger law in place to ban abortions at any time during pregnancy, Dr. David Eisenberg has also seen a similar sense of urgency from teens going to college to choose the most effective option.

“Fear is an incredible motivator,” said Eisenberg, an associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who performs abortions in neighboring Illinois. “They understand that the consequence of contraceptive failure could mean that they become parents because they may not be able to access an abortion.”

Interest is also high at the contraception clinic that Dr. Elise Berlan oversees in Columbus, Ohio. Before the Supreme Court decision, the clinic booked appointments for new patients within a week or two.

Now, they are booking several months in advance for first appointments, said Berlan, an adolescent medicine specialist who sees crying mothers and daughters in her exam room. She said the demand is so high that they are adding a provider.

The day the Supreme Court ruled against Roe, Roo, Planned Parenthood’s online chatbot aimed at teens, received twice as many questions about birth control as normal.

Online birth control appointments also soared that day: 150% more than a typical day, with an even greater 375% increase for those seeking IUDs, said Julia Bennett, director of digital education and learning strategy. Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

As of mid-July, several weeks after the ruling, birth control appointments remained 20% higher, although the data is not broken down by age group.

The growing interest exists even in states like North Carolina, where abortion remains legal but the legislature is conservative.

dr Kavita Arora, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Chapel Hill, said she saw perhaps a teenager a month before the ruling. Now, she said, she sees them at every clinic session.

“They are aware that this is an incredibly fluid situation, and what is allowed one moment may not be allowed a week or a month later,” said Arora, chair of the Ethics Committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

That uncertain future is part of what motivated Abreu, the Florida teenager whose implant will prevent pregnancy for up to five years.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the laws in that time frame,” said Abreu, who was using a short-acting birth control method before switching. “Having this already on my arm makes me feel much more secure.”

Her mother, Maribys Lorenzo, said in Spanish that she, too, is a little calmer knowing her daughter can’t get pregnant and said she would recommend the implant because it doesn’t require her daughter to remember to take a birth control pill.

He said he’s more or less worried about his daughter becoming sexually active because of the implant. But if it happens, she will be protected, Lorenzo said.

“I don’t think it’s fair to me or my family not to have abortion as an option,” said her daughter, Abreu.

___

Roxana Hegeman in Wichita contributed to this report. Rodgers is a staff member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues. Follow her on Twitter at


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