Plan B In Pop Culture

Births to teenagers are rising (435,000 babies were born to mothers between 15 and 19 years old in 2006, the first increase in nearly 15 years). Since government funded abstinence-only education doesn’t contribute much to teens’ knowledge about sex, STDs, and pregnancy, they can either get the information from their parents or pop culture. And because most parents have a hard time broaching the subject, pop culture it is. The things is, movies and TV shows aren’t doing their part when it comes to educating young women about their options. And, no, we’re not talking about abortion. As we wrote earlier, a small study showed that many young women haven’t even heard of Plan B, and they definitely don’t know how to get it. Below, a few examples of cases where Hollywood skipped over Plan B this year, limiting teen girls’ options to keeping the baby, putting it up for adoption, or having an abortion.

  • In the newly released The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, smart-aleck Tibby, played by Amber Tamblyn, has sex with her boyfriend and the condom breaks. Instead of going to the drugstore and taking the necessary precautions (since she wasn’t using a secondary method of birth control in the first place), Tibby becomes a nervous wreck waiting to see whether she misses her period.
  • In ABC Family’s new series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the character Amy has sex (though she’s not even sure that’s what it was) while away at band camp and, oops, soon discovers she’s pregnant.
  • When Juno begins, the title character is already awaiting the results of her pregnancy test, so she’s past the first 72 hours during which she could have taken Plan B, or at least explored the option.
  • Sure, it would kind of ruin the above story lines if the girl hadn’t either a) gone through the agony of waiting to see whether she was in fact pregnant, or b) had to deal with being pregnant and everything that goes along with it. But it certainly would be nice for a character to show young women that there’s another precaution they can take if they seriously goofed and had sex without using birth control, or if their method malfunctioned.

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