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Pediatricians Push for Advance Plan B Prescriptions for Teens

Tricia Tongco |
November 27, 2012 | 4:24 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday called on the nation's pediatricians to educate all of their adolescent patients about emergency contraception, like Plan B, recommending that teens under 17 should have a prescription for it before they start having sex.

Currently, federal policy bans over-the-counter sales of the so-called morning after pills to girls under 17, so having a prescription on hand could help younger teens obtain emergency contraception more quickly than if they have to contact a physician only after they need it.

The Chicago-based AAP said teen pregnancies have significantly decreased over the past two decades, but the U.S. still has the highest birth rate in adolescents compared to all other developed countries.

“We think the reason that it hasn’t affected the rate of teen pregnancy is because kids don’t know about it, teenagers don’t know about emergency contraception,” said professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington, Cora Breuner told WBEZ.

“We don’t actually know if that would reduce teen pregnancy because there’s no data showing that advanced prescription will reduce it,” Breuner said. “But we do know that when you do prescribe it, teenagers will use it, as oppose to many of the drugs that we write prescriptions for and people don’t fill, this one, they do.”

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