Chewing on the Go: Do We Really Need Chewable Birth Control?

it tastes nothing like candy.

it tastes nothing like candy.

I’m embarrassed to admit it. I lost my birth control pills. I’m not exactly sure how or where but one day they were in my purse and the next day they weren’t. When I called the doctor for a new prescription, I was met with the response that the birth control I’d misplaced wasn’t being made anymore- nothing like hearing that to inspire confidence in my contraception. When they described my other options, I was told that the medication closest to the one I was previously taking was chewable. Yes, you read that right, chewable. I thought that a plane had flown over my apartment and I’d misheard them. But I hadn’t.

Are we really in the era of chewable birth control? These aren’t exactly Flintstones Kids vitamins we are talking about- it’s freaking birth control. My first thought was why in god’s name is there a chewable birth control on the market? What would persuade a pharmaceutical company think, “Hey you know what? Let’s make a chewable birth control pill.” I’m not trying to be cynical here, but when I considered it more I wondered, is there a legitimate reason for this new tablet trend? FEMCON Fe was the first FDA approved chewable birth control pill in 2006. Like other birth control pills, it’s 99% effective when taken as directed. The makers intended it to provide another option for women with increasingly busy lives, but according to a survey published in the journal of Pediatrics in May of this year, most teens 17-19 are sexually active and approximately 30% of teens aged 15-16 have had sex. Since 2006 other chewable birth controls have hit the market, including Generess Fe and Minastrin 24 Fe. Now there’s no proven or studied correlation, but it’s possible that chewable birth control encourages sexual activity in younger girls and is seen as more appealing to kids who are sexually active at increasingly younger ages.

Call me old-fashioned but if you can’t swallow a pill that’s about a centimeter in diameter should you really be engaging in sexual activity? I know that this is a new generation that has grown up in a world full of iPhones and sexting, but come on. Disturbing.

While I adamantly believe that safe sex and contraception should be taught to teenagers, it doesn’t mean that we should make it easier for them to have sex when they’re more than likely not emotionally ready. But I guess if they’re gonna do the deed they should take the chewable pill before they proceed. And maybe this pill will discourage them from having sex before they’re ready, because it tastes absolutely disgusting.

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