'Pulling Out' Method Gets New Respect

"Teens will misuse the data and boys will use it as an excuse not to wear condoms," she told ABCNews.com. "It is also not good for monogamous couples, especially those who are religious and against abortion, who may have more unplanned pregnancies."

Jones, surprised by the thrust of her critics, responded with a letter she hoped would be widely published.

"I've grown used to promoters of abstinence only-until-marriage programs dismissing the effectiveness of contraception," said Jones. "However, I'm surprised to see such disparagement of withdrawal among a crowd that is presumably younger, more diverse and open-minded."

"Perhaps because most of us have been told for so long that withdrawal doesn't work, we are unable to embrace scientific evidence that counters what we 'know,'" said Jones.

IUD and Hormones Most Effective

Despite the explosive reaction, statistics suggest that most women have used withdrawal.

According to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, 56 percent of all sexually experienced women rely on withdrawal at some time during their lives. About 82 percent have used the pill and 90 percent a condom.

The Women's Well-Being and Sexuality Study found that 21 percent of younger and more educated women were using withdrawal.

Dr. Melissa Gilliam, chief of family planning and contraceptive research at the University of Chicago, worries that sexually active teens might get confusing messages if withdrawal were promoted as an option.

"It clearly has a high failure rate," she told ABCNews.com. "It should only be used as a stop-gap measure or as emergency protection."

Jones notes that hormones and the IUD (intra-uterine device) are the most effective forms of birth control. But many women can't use these longer lasting methods, and many can't afford them.

Birth control pills are typically not covered by health insurance plans and can cost $20 to $50 a month. An IUD, which lasts for up to a decade, can cost several hundred dollars for insertion at a doctor's office.

Teens Need Sex Information

"My practice is in pediatric adolescence, and I prescribe at lot of birth control for medical and contraceptive reasons," said Gilliam, who sits on the board of the Guttmacher Institute. "But even with highly effective methods there are a lot of issues of adherence. The more complex the message the more confusing it's bound to be."

She recommends "belts and suspenders" or "double Dutch," meaning both a highly effective method like pills, an IUD, injections or implants, as well as condoms to protect from infections.

An estimated 25 percent of all teens have a sexually transmitted infection, according to the CDC.

"When you are dealing with those numbers and pregnancy, it's very different message than for monogamous older couples who already have lower rates of fertility," Gilliam said.

Jones agreed teens need comprehensive information on sex.

"Anecdotally, some are using [withdrawal], and we needed to know how effective it is or not," she said. "In certain situations, it's most effective."

"If you can't take hormones, it's better than nothing," Jones said. "It's a back-up method if you forget to take pills or there are no condoms around."

Men Can't Be Trusted to Pull Out

Many women say that a birth control method that relies on the will-power of a man is doomed to fail, a problem that could be particularly evident with teens.

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