Release date: 25 September 2007
Today, young people are being encouraged to ‘Live Your Life Before You Start Another’ by young Hollywood actress, Mischa Barton as the first ever World Contraception Day takes place (Wednesday 26th September).
World Contraception Day is an international awareness campaign aiming to reduce the high level of unplanned pregnancy that occur and to improve the level of education regarding reproductive and sexual health, as every day 220,000 women worldwide have an unplanned pregnancy [ii]
World Contraception Day in Ireland is led by the Irish Family Planning Association with support from the European Society of Contraception (ESC).
The theme for 2007, ‘Live Your Life Before You Start Another’ aims to appeal directly to young people aged 17-25, encouraging them to make an informed choice about parenthood at a time that is right for them. Young people around the world have strong aspirations to be well-informed and educated and World Contraception Day aims to equip them with the information and knowledge they need to make informed decisions.
World Contraception Day is a long-term campaign aimed at all women and men of reproductive age, and centres on the theme of ‘Your Life’. Young people have been targeted in this, the first year as research has shown that the greatest educational need in sexual education lies amongst young adults. In Ireland, young people consulted by the Office of the Minister for Children on the age of consent in November 2006 identified sex education, information and resources on sex as areas of acute importance for them. [iii]
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Brendan Clune, GP said “It is alarming that 136,000 Irish women have had a crisis pregnancy at some point in their life. World Contraception Day aims to improve the level of sexual education not just in Ireland but around the world. Sexual education is a continuous and complex process which should be provided on an ongoing basis throughout life. I would encourage those with queries or concerns about contraception to talk to your GP about the range of options available.
New data from a European study shows that 1 in 5 young people aged 15-24 don’t use any form of contraception and over a quarter didn’t use contraception the first time they had sex. The study also shows that compared to women over the age of 25, women aged between 15-24 place the most value on being self-sufficient and not depending on others. Young women also feel most strongly that achieving their goals gives them the greatest satisfaction. [iv]
Speaking today, Rosie Toner, Director of Pregnancy Counselling Services with the Irish Family Planning Association said “The Irish Family Planning Association is pleased to support this, the first ever World Contraception Day. This campaign will provide vital information and resources to young people on sexual and reproductive health and contraception. It is important to acknowledge that teenage pregnancy can be a positive life choice for some young women, and it is equally important to ensure that they are provided with information to enable them to make an informed choice about parenthood at a time that is right for them.”
Speaking at the international launch of World Contraception Day in Berlin, Mischa Barton said “I know that I feel too young to have a child and many people of my age probably feel the same. I want to encourage all young people to follow their aspirations and live their lives to the full. They should only have a baby when they are ready, and not by chance. Every child should be wanted. That is why increasing awareness of contraception and reproductive health is a must.”
An advertising campaign has been launched in Ireland to further raise awareness of World Contraception Day and the importance of making informed choices. A teaser poster campaign highlighted the impact of unintended pregnancy through hard-hitting statistics, while infomercials on youth radio stations will provide advice and information on how to avoid an unintended pregnancy. Mischa Barton officially unveiled the poster advertising campaign which will run in colleges throughout Ireland featuring striking images comparing life with and without children and the strapline ‘live your life before you start another.’ Finally, for the duration of World Contraception Day, organisers will also stage a takeover of the Bebo homepage.
A global website, www.your-life.com, has also been launched, featuring information and advice on contraception, sexuality and body education as well as interactive features such as mobile phone downloads and online surveys. Young people and indeed all women and men of reproductive age can use this website to access information on contraception.
In addition, a healthcare professional campaign has been launched to ensure doctors, nurses and family planning clinics are fully aware of World Contraception Day. Healthcare professionals will be provided with a number of informative educational materials to provide during consultations, including a Your Contraception guide and a pocket card featuring important information on how and where to access contraception. A letter from the Irish Family Planning Association and the other regional partners will accompany these materials to introduce the campaign to Healthcare Professionals.
As parents and teachers also play a pivotal role in providing advice and resources to young people, there is information and guidance for them on the www.your-life.com website to help them address the topic of sex and contraception with their daughters/sons/students.
World Contraception Day is supported by Bayer Schering Pharma