Doctor Explains How Teen Birth Control Trends Have Changed Post-Roe V. Wade

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, individual states could pass laws restricting access to or banning abortions. Since then, 13 states have outlawed abortion, and Georgia bans abortion six weeks after conception. Four states restrict abortion after 15 to 20 weeks. 

Restricting abortion access makes more people interested in birth control options, according to Sophia Yen, MD, MPH. Yen is the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health birth control delivery and Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford in Adolescent Medicine.

In an interview with Health Digest, Yen tells us that her office saw people asking about more long-term contraception such as the IUD or implant — especially the IUD, which can last up to 8 to 10 years, depending on the type.

"Also, as soon as Roe v Wade was reversed, we saw a threefold increase in demand for Pandia Health's birth control delivery and birth control prescribing services," Yen said, adding that these options are important considerations for parents of teenage girls.

Birth control options

Yen said that all sexually active teenagers should be aware of their options, and that even if a teenager isn't sexually active, birth control pills can help with problematic periods.

"The top cause of missed school and/or work for those with uteri under the age of 25 years old is heavy, painful periods," Yen said. "If your daughter is one of them, do not be afraid of hormonal treatment (pill, patch, ring, IUD, implant, shot) to allow her to go to school and/or work and function at her best."

Yen says that 70% of women who use "birth control" don't use it solely for preventing pregnancy. If your daughter has certain health issues that are interfering with her life, Yen explained that birth control can often be a treatment option. Birth control pills can be used to help with acne, heavy or painful periods, PMS, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), endometriosis, and PCOS. These treatments can also prevent or treat anemia.

Yen suggests telling your daughter about Plan B – which is emergency contraception taken to prevent pregnancy shortly after having sex — and its limits. "Plan B and its generics do NOT work so well if your BMI is 26 or greater and does not work at ALL if your BMI is 30 or greater," Yen said. "Ella is a prescription emergency contraception that works up to a BMI of 35."

The abortion pill and alternatives

Yen suggests being aware of the "abortion pill", which is a combination of two medications that stop pregnancy from growing. More than half of abortions in the United States and 90% of them in certain European countries are conducted via medication. They're approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are as safe as taking Tylenol.

Individualized information about how and where to get the abortion pill can be found at Plan C. As more states pass laws restricting abortion access, Yen suggests staying updated on options for your teenager. "Consider getting emergency contraception and perhaps medication abortion pills in advance of need, mainly if you are in a restrictive state or your person with a uterus will be attending school/college there."

As for people who want to prevent pregnancy but aren't comfortable using birth control, Yen suggests abstinence, at least from intercourse. "To avoid pregnancy, you could do oral sex or mutual masturbation," Yen advised. Yen added that people can also relieve sexual tension by masturbating on their own, perhaps with an aquatic stimulator or a vibrator such as the Lioness.

To find out more about Dr. Yen and Pandia Health's online birth control delivery, you can head to the Pandia Health website.