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Safe sex: not just for teenagers

Article in images

© Getty Images/Jeffrey Hamilton - Safe sex: not just for teenagers
© Getty Images/Jeffrey Hamilton
In the country with the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, consider this: in 2008, women between the ages of 40 and 44 had the same rate of abortions as girls under 16.

Contrary to popular belief, “issues around unplanned pregnancy affect women of all age groups,” said Rebecca Findlay, a spokesperson for the Family Planning Association. “We feel that the needs of older women are largely ignored and negated. We talk a lot about younger women, but we very rarely actually talk about this age group.”

Instead, the message generally aimed at women over 35 is that they are likely fighting a losing battle against infertility. And while it is true that fertility starts to decline with age, it doesn’t do so so immediately and completely that older women no longer need to worry about birth control.

“So often I see women and say, ‘So what are you using for contraception?’ And they say, ‘Oh, I’m not really.’ And I say, ‘Oh, so you’re trying to get pregnant?’ and they say, ‘Well, no…’” said Dr. Anne Szarewski, a family planning specialist. “It’s unbelievable that they don’t see the paradox there.”


Samantha Fields
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