Unfortunately, no method of contraception is 100% effective. Using contraception is always about minimising the chances of getting pregnant as much as possible, and certain methods do that better than others. To help illustrate the fallibility of contraception, it’s important to consider abortion statistics and to challenge how we currently view women who access abortion.
Abortion on Contraception
According to a 2016 study, one in three Australian women will have an unplanned pregnancy in their lifetime. Many of these women will make the decision to terminate the pregnancy because many of them were actively trying not to get pregnant when this happened. More than half of all unintended pregnancies occurred while using contraception such as condoms and/or the contraceptive pill. People who were actively avoiding becoming pregnant ended up being the majority of people requiring an abortion. We tend to view people who seek abortion as having been careless, or assume they weren’t using protection. This is far from the truth.
Typical vs Perfect Use
The reason for the number of unplanned pregnancies on contraception comes down to the fact that both condoms and the pill rely on “user action”. This means, in order for them to work we need to remember to use them and use them perfectly each time. Sounds simple right? Not so much. Over long periods of time the odds are against us.
There’s a number of small mistakes that can render most methods of contraception ineffective or less effective if you don’t follow the instructions perfectly. If you’ve ever put together IKEA furniture you probably know how hard it can be to follow instructions well enough to get it perfect on the first try. Now imagine if you had to assemble it perfectly every single time, and sometimes you were assembling while horny, while intoxicated, while tired or while distracted. Yeah, starts to seem less likely that you’re going to get it perfect each time, right?
User action contraception (e.g the Pill, male and female condoms, diaphragms, etc) are all pretty reliable forms of contraception when used perfectly. But if you start breaking down the statistics for typical use (which is the way most of us use them) then they’re a lot less reliable. This is why our contraceptive method pages include all the stats for typical and perfect use; so you can make an informed decision about minimising your risks.