Pediatricians Recommend Emergency Birth Control for Teens

In a statement soon to be published by The American Academy of Pediatrics, the group goes on the record advocating easy access to emergency contraception for all U.S. teens. The United States continues to have teen birth rates that are significantly higher than other industrialized nations.

The statement will be published in the December 2012 issue of Pediatrics and released online Nov. 26.

According to the AAP, adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it’s prescribed in advance. Many teens continue to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse, and as many as 10 percent are victims of sexual assault. When used within 120 hours after unprotected sex, emergency contraception, such as Plan B, Next Choice, etc., are the only contraceptive methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Pediatricians can play an important role in counseling patients and providing prescriptions for teens in need of emergency contraception for preventing pregnancy. Patients should also know that emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pediatricians should discuss the importance of STI testing, or treatment if needed.

The AAP encourages pediatricians to advocate for  increased access to emergency contraception for teens, regardless of age.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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