The American Academy of Pediatrics says that teens are more likely to use emergency contraception if it’s prescribed in advance and the group wants to encourage routine counseling and advance emergency-contraception prescriptions as one part of a public health strategy to reduce teen pregnancy.
“Adolescents younger than 17 years must obtain a prescription from a physician to access emergency contraception in most states. In all states, females 17 years or older and males 18 years or older can obtain emergency contraception without a prescription. Adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it has been prescribed in advance of need. The aim of this updated policy statement is to (1) educate pediatricians and other physicians on available emergency contraceptive methods; (2) provide current data on safety, efficacy, and use of emergency contraception in teenagers; and (3) encourage routine counseling and advance emergency-contraception prescription as 1 part of a public health strategy to reduce teen pregnancy. This policy focuses on pharmacologic methods of emergency contraception used within 120 hours of unprotected or underprotected coitus for the prevention of unintended pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive medications include products labeled and dedicated for use as emergency contraception by the US Food and Drug Administration (levonorgestrel and ulipristal) and the “off-label” use of combination oral contraceptives.”
“A new policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discusses the use of emergency contraception and how it can reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy in adolescents. The statement, “Emergency Contraception,” will be published in the December 2012 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. Other indications for use include contraceptive failures (defective or slipped condoms, or missed or late doses of other contraceptives). “
“When used within 120 hours after having unprotected or under-protected sex, selected regimens for emergency contraception, such as Plan B, Next Choice, etc., are the only contraceptive methods to prevent unwanted pregnancy.”
“According to the AAP, 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 also encourages pediatricians to advocate for better insurance coverage and increased access to emergency contraception for teens, regardless of age.”
AJC reporter Katie Leslie is looking for real parents to discuss this recommendation in an article she is working on today and tomorrow. You can email her or call her if you’d like to discuss the issue. Her email is Katie.Leslie@ajc.com or you can call her at 404-526-5969.
I can’t imagine teens going to their own pediatrician for fear of the doctor telling their parents. I think they would be too ashamed and embarrassed.
If they were willing to go for emergency contraception then wouldn’t they go for regular contraceptives ahead of time?
I do have a story about this though. While waiting early one Sunday morning for the Wal-Greens Take Care Clinic to open, I watched a young man sheepishly go to the pharmacy in flip flops and bedhead and ask for the emergency contraception. I was wondering why such a young man would be going to a pharmacy so early in the morning and then it made sense. And he said it so loudly. I could plainly hear him sitting across the room.
Should pediatricians prescribe emergency contraceptives in advance? Do you see your child heading to the pediatrician for this type of help? If they would do this, wouldn’t it be more likely that they would have visited them asking for the pill beforehand? Would you want to know if your child visited your pediatrician? Do you think they should have to tell you?