Posted By Elizabeth Watts, Anchor/Reporter - email
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending its physicians prescribe the morning-after pill to teenagers so they'll have it just in case.
In the U.S. teenagers 17 and under need a prescription to get the emergency contraception.
The AAP wants to curb our nation's teen pregnancy rate which has declined in recent years, but is still higher than other developed nations.
Morning-after pills, including Plan B, can prevent pregnancy if used within 120 hours of having sex.
The AAP's statement can be seen in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics. It says teens are still engaging in unprotected sex, or are using birth control and condoms incorrectly, and this is another method to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
"If a child is not that savvy to realize they shouldn't be having sex without a condom, they're probably not savvy enough to take the medication correctly," Dr. Daliah Wachs said.
Wachs said the decision is concerning because it could give teens a false sense of security. If the medicine is not taken correctly, they can still get pregnant.
She's also worried if it's prescribed ahead of time, the necessary communication isn't there.
"Whenever we make things easier for the child there's less room and less opportunity to educate," she said.
Wachs said in this day and age sex is made to seem glamorous on television and in the movies, and teenagers need to be educated on the real-life consequences.
"I don't think these kids realize that in the 14.5 seconds many of these sexual encounters are, can hurt them for life," Wachs said.
Just like the birth control pill, the morning-after pill does not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases.
Along with this recommendation the AAP also wants doctors to advocate for better insurance coverage and prescription access for teens of all ages.
Last year the FDA discussed making the morning-after pill available to women of all ages without a prescription. That was struck down by the Health and Human Services Secretary who argued girls as young as 11 years old can become pregnant and they need to talk to a doctor.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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