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Teen girls using "rhythm method" increase 55%

By J. DeVoy

A recent CDC report shows that from 2006-2008, 17% of surveyed teen girls were using the rhythm method of birth control, up from 11% in 2002.  For those unfamiliar with this method, there isn’t too much “method” to it – the girl just tries to time her cycle and avoid intercourse when she’s fertile.  This tends to be very unreliable in light of cell biology and bodily functions, as sperm can live up to a full week after the act.

This leads to some uncomfortable conclusions:

The increase in the rhythm method may be part of the explanation for recent trends in the teen birth rate. The teen birth rate declined steadily from 1991 through 2005, but rose from 2005 to 2007. It dropped again in 2008, by 2 percent, to about 10 percent of all births.

While abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, the failure rates of condoms and birth control when used perfectly are around 8% and .1%, respectively.  That seems more reliable than trying to time body chemistry, especially when it’s susceptible to conditions like illness, stress and environmental conditions.

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