How Do You Prevent Pregnancy? Arkansas Wants To Know.

Students at Arkansas colleges and universities are finding some new information added to orientation materials: how not to get pregnant.


College students are very good at having sex, but they are not always good at birth control. Making information and contraception easily accessible it a smart choice.

This started because Arkansas found itself in the dubious position of having the highest teen birth rate in the nation. When the powers that be broke down the numbers a bit, they found that the majority of those births were to older teens — 18 and 19-year-olds. So sitting college students down and telling them about contraception seemed like a pretty obvious solution.

The new programs are the result of a 2015 state law directing colleges and universities to tackle the issue of unplanned pregnancy. It passed with surprising ease, considering that Arkansas is a very conservative state and sex education in middle and high school is still quite controversial and relies on abstinence messaging. For some students, college might be the first time they are hearing about how to prevent pregnancy.

Different schools around the state are dealing with the issue in different ways. One college had incoming freshman take an online lesson in contraception and provided information about the student health center in all the dorms rooms. Another school showed incoming students a video where students who had had babies in earlier years talked about their experience as parents. 

For now, there’s no money allocated toward these programs, but staff at the Arkansas Department of Higher Education is forming a non-profit and hoping to attract private money to keep the programs afloat. 

Ideally, the program will have enough success to bring in big funders. But most importantly officials hope it will allow young adults to choose when they become parents.

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