Support Recommendation to Make Emergency Contraception Accessible to Young Women

Pills

Target: The American Academy of  Pediatrics

Goal: Support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation encouraging doctors to make emergency contraceptives more accessible to teenage girls.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced its support for doctors discussing the morning-after pill with teenagers, as well as writing emergency contraception prescriptions for girls who wish to have it, just in case. However, prescriptions will not be forced on anyone. Emergency contraception was made available to women age 18 and older over-the-counter in 2006, and available to women age 17 and older in 2009. Yet the truth remains that many teenage girls under age 17 are sexually active and many will benefit from having advance prescriptions in case of emergencies.

The academy decided to publicize this recommendation after new research supported the idea that young women were more likely to use emergency contraception (sold under the name Plan B, or Next Choice) after unprotected sex when they were provided with a prescription beforehand, in comparison to those without a prescription. The study also showed that young women with advance prescriptions were more likely to use the drug in a timely manner, versus those without prescriptions who must undergo the typically costly and time-consuming process of visiting a doctor.

With the use of emergency contraceptives, time is of the essence. The drug must be taken up to five days after unprotected sex in order for it to be effective. The morning-after pill is not intended to be used as a recurring contraception method, and does not protect individuals from sexually transmitted diseases. Thus, experts always recommend condoms as the best contraception method. However, in the event of contraception failure or sexual assault the morning-after pill is suggested to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Many fear advance prescriptions condone sexual activity amongst teens. However research shows the opposite to be true; according to a study done in 2006, most of the young women with emergency contraception readily available did not use it. By recommending doctors discuss the morning-after pill with teenage girls, and even prescribe emergency contraception in advance to girls who wish to have it, the academy hopes to reduce the amount of unplanned pregnancies. Sign the petition to commend the Academy for its noble efforts.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear American Academy of Pediatrics,

I would like to show my support for your recommendation encouraging doctors to make emergency contraceptives more accessible to teenage girls.

The academy’s suggestion asking doctors to discuss emergency contraception with teenage girls, as well as write advance prescriptions to girls who wish to have them, will help reduce unplanned pregnancies among young women. Emergency contraception is available to women age 17 and older over-the-counter. However, many girls under the age of 17 are sexually active and will benefit from having prescriptions in case of emergencies.

Time is of the essence with the use of emergency contraceptives; therefore, young women with prescriptions before they are needed are at an advantage to take the drug when it is most effective, within five days after unprotected sex.

I support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation for doctors to discuss all contraception methods available to young women, as well as take preventative measures by writing advance prescriptions. Raising awareness about emergency contraception and making it more accessible to teenage girls will help reduce unplanned pregnancies.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Earl53 Via MorgueFile

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2 Comments

  1. I would be horrified if my daughter was given emergency contraception without my knowledge and would take immediate legal action People seem to think there is nothing wrong with popping a pill. Its all made too easy, the drug companies like it that way. Are the girls made fully aware of all the side effects? Or are they too concerned with taking the pill as quickly as possible? PROBABLY!! What happens if there are complications? She wouldn’t have told you she had taken the pill so you would not have the knowledge to inform a hospital doctor that could save her life. You may think I am some crazy moral nutter but I actually knew two girls now both dead from blood clots caused by the pill. One died in the hospital waiting room!! So it is something to consider. Sorry I don’t agree with this at all.

    • Lizzy Breitkopf Lizzy Breitkopf says:

      I agree that many women do not know the side effects of the morning-after pill, however that can also be said about birth control pills, a drug that many women take daily. That is why the academy also recommends that doctors discuss the pill with teenagers, which would include informing them about all possible side effects. The side effects are very serious, and it is extremely sad that young women have died from taking it. However I believe this drug to be safer than many alternatives, for example I know of teenage girls that did not had access to emergency contraceptives, so after unprotected sex, took seven or eight birth control pills to try to get the same effect as Plan B. The academy’s goal is to raise awareness about emergency contraceptives and make them more available to girls who wish to have them.

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