Contraception and unplanned pregnancy

The truth about abortion

Eleonore Bridier Abortion, Blog, Contraception

One in three Australian women will have an unplanned pregnancy in their lifetime.1 Many of these women will make the decision to terminate the pregnancy. No one wants to have an abortion. It’s not exactly a bucket list item that little girls grow up aspiring to tick off. The people who choose to terminate a pregnancy are doing so for very good reasons.

In fact, more than half of all unintended pregnancies2 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. The reason for this is because 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; especially over long periods of time. The odds are against us here.

Condoms and diaphragms seem pretty simple to use right? But there’s actually a number of small mistakes that can render them ineffective 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 even simple directions. Now imagine if you had to assemble it every time you were horny, occasionally when you were drunk, sometimes when you were tired or distracted. What would the likelihood be that you’d eventually make a mistake?

The Pill, male condoms, female condoms and diaphragms are all reliable forms of contraception when used perfectly. However if you start breaking down the statistics for typical use (that’s the way most of them are used) then they’re a lot less reliable. The Pill drops down to 91%. Male condoms and diaphragms drop to 82%, and the female condom is just 79%.3 That’s a whole lot less reliability than most of us would be comfortable with.

So what’s the solution? If our most trusted forms of contraception are still ending up with people having to terminate pregnancies what other options are there? Well the great news is there are contraceptive options available that are over 99% reliable.4 You might not be familiar with the term LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) because your doctor may never have offered you the choice, but you should be because they represent the future of contraception choices.

IUDs (Intra-Uterine Devices) are available with or without hormones and can last between 5 and 10 years.5 The contraception implant lasts for 3 years. All of these options are completely reversible at any point and have no long term impacts on fertility. They represent a “set and forget” method of contraception, which means you don’t have to worry about human error. No instructions to follow. No ‘typical’ use statistics to worry about. No pills to remember. Just lie back and enjoy not getting pregnant.

So if you’re in a position where an unplanned pregnancy would be less than ideal, consider switching to the smarter contraceptive choice – LARC.

Want to know more about your contraception options? Call us or book an appointment online.


1 Rowe, H., Holton, S., Kirkman, M., Bayly, C., Jordan, L., McNamee, K., McBain, J., Sinnott, V. and Fisher, J. (2016), Prevalence and distribution of unintended pregnancy: the Understanding Fertility Management in Australia National Survey. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 40: 104–109. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12461

2 Marie Stopes International (2008), Real choices: women, contraception and unplanned pregnancy: key findings, Canberra: Marie Stopes International.

3 Contraception: An Australian Clinical Practice Handbook (2016).

4 ibid

5 ibid