City Scapes // Morgan Mackey

My roommate and I have been patiently waiting for over a week for a giraffe in New York to give birth. Meanwhile in Denver, a giraffe gave a surprise birth of her own.

The Denver Zoo announced last week that one of their female giraffes accidently got pregnant and was hiding the pregnancy from the zookeepers. The bigger issue is not that a giraffe at the Denver Zoo got pregnant while on birth control, it’s that giraffes have easier access to birth control than most women in the US.

In fact, most animals at zoos across the country are on some form of contraception. Zoos acknowledge that populations can be controlled by using birth control and generally unwanted pregnancy can be prevented by taking the appropriate precautions.

This is a lesson the US is still trying to learn. Not every woman is afforded the right to prevent unwanted pregnancy for herself. We are living under an administration that wants to take away women’s right to birth control as a way of preventing them from having sex. It’s not going to happen. The only way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and, thus abortion, is to make birth control accessible to everyone.

Family planning is an important conversation that is not being had often enough among young teenagers—male and female. High schools need to be teaching sexual education on a deeper level than the “just don’t do it” teaching model. The method of abstinence is counterproductive. People who become sexually active without knowing about sex run the risk of contracting diseases they didn’t know they could have and not know how to properly take care of their body with birth control and condoms.

Talking about birth control and condoms should not be the taboo conversation it is. These are conversations we need to have with high school students so they enter college and young adulthood—whether they are sexually active or not—with knowledge about sex and family planning. This access to information will prevent unplanned pregnancy, and unwanted diseases. 

There are only benefits to opening the discussion about sex education. Being a sexually active person is not shameful, what is shameful is a population of young men and women not being taught about sex, but to only learn about it after-the-fact and on live zoo cams.

Morgan Mackey
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