Birth control has several different meanings. When used as a synonym for family planning, it refers to control over the number or spacing of children using various methods to either prevent or control the frequency of pregnancy. When used as a synonym for contraception, birth control refers strictly to the prevention of pregnancy. Contraceptives are the means by which pregnancies are prevented.
Most polls on sexual behavior show that more than half of all American teenagers are sexually active by age 17. However, polls also show that only one third of all parents talk to their children about birth control, and two thirds of all sexually active teenagers never or rarely use contraceptives. This lack of communication may partly explain why there are about one million unwanted teenage pregnancies each year in the United States.
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