Pediatrician group: Give teens easier access to emergency birth control
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended its members provide counseling and advance emergency birth control prescriptions, including the Plan B pill, to teenage girls under the age of 17, Reuters reported on Monday.
“We do hope that pediatricians read the policy statement and follow the recommendations,” said Dr. Cora Breuner, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital who led the AAP panel that produced the recommendations. “The Academy prides itself on a devoted membership.”
In a statement published online (PDF) on Monday, the group cited concerns over teenagers continuing to have either unprotected sex or only using a condom for birth-control purposes, as well as U.S. Justice Department statistics showing high sexual assault rates among teenagers and young adults. The statement will also be published next month in the journal Pediatrics.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved selling Plan B over the counter without age limits, only to be overruled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who ordered that it should only be available thru prescription for girls under 17.
Two years ago, an analysis of seven emergency contraception study determined that, while having a Plan B prescription available did not increase teenage sexual ability, it did boost birth-control use, and shortened the amount of time that passed before teens used it following intercourse.
ABC News reported that the AAP’s statement recommends the use of Plan B, which requires patients to take one or two tablets of levonorgestrel; the Yuzpe method, which uses hormonal contraceptives taken orally, and ulipristal acetate.
["Birth control pills in blister" by Susan Montgomery via Shutterstock]