Originally published November 29 2012
Pediatricians should push birth control pills onto young teens, says American Academy of Pediatrics
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) With seemingly no concern whatsoever for the sensibilities of some Americans regarding their moral or religious beliefs, a noted pediatrics organization is recommending that all pediatricians actively counsel teens about "emergency contraception," even going so far as to recommend that they be provided with prescriptions and products in advance, to ensure they have the pills if or when they need them.
According to a policy statement released online by the American Academy of Pediatrics, members of the group are also being urged to advocate for lifting all age restrictions for such products, The Washington Times reported, adding that under current statutes, teen girls 16 years old and younger must have a prescription for the so-called "morning-after pill."
"Despite significant declines over the past two decades, the United States continues to have teen birth rates that are significantly higher than other industrialized nations," an abstract of the policy says. "Use of emergency contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy if used up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure and is most effective if used in the first 24 hours."
"This policy focuses on pharmacologic methods of emergency contraception used within 120 hours of unprotected or underprotected coitus for the prevention of unintended pregnancy," the abstract said.
'Well-thought out scientific research'
Apparently, any discussion at all about abstinence and why it makes sense for teen girls who have not yet matured physically, as well as the potential mental anguish of enduring a pregnancy at a young age or any other innumerable consequences of teen sex, has been completely abandoned by yet another American "medical" institution.
The AAP notes that products like Plan B, Plan B One-Step and Next Choice are the most effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, though they can work if taken as many as five days later.
As recently as 2005, a number of the organization's policy positions were stated "softly" regarding emergency contraception, according to Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a member of the group's Committee on Adolescence.
She defends the organization's new, stronger language because she says it went through more than 15 AAP committees, including those pertaining to safety and child abuse, for over a year, resulting in a "well-thought-through, researched and supported document."
The recommendation that children's doctors be proactive in handing out "advance" prescriptions or actual emergency contraception products to teenage girls comes from research showing that they will use the pills if they have them, said Breuner, an attending physician at Seattle Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
She says the goal is to ensure that sexually active teens are encouraged to use regular birth-control methods.
The AAP's position is supported by other groups, including the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, according to Bill Albert, the organization's chief program officer.
He does at least acknowledge; however, that parents and others may be understandably concerned about handing out emergency contraception to younger teens especially, but such concerns seem "to be in conflict with the best science that we know," he told the paper.
Albert added that there seems to be "no real evidence to suggest that making contraception, including EC, available to teens, or more readily available to teens, encourages them to begin having sex, have sex at a younger age, or have more sexual partners."
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also endorses emergency contraception without a prescription, recently issuing a policy statement of its own calling for all oral contraceptives to be sold without a prescription.
Voices of reason have so far prevailed, but...
Of course, not everyone believes it's in the best interests of teenage children to just preemptively hand them morning-after pills.
Wendy Wright, vice president for government relations at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, praised Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her decision last December to keep in place rules requiring a doctor's prescription before young teen girls can obtain emergency contraception. Sebelius' decision "hit the nail on the head," Wright told the Times.
Part of the problem with simply handing out prescription EC medications, Wright says, is that there seems to be little evidence teens are mature enough to be using such products. In addition, she has voiced concerns about what sort of protections are in place to prevent girls from being exploited sexually if they can get such products easily, noting that some girls begin menstruating at age 10.
And what about diseases, such as AIDS, herpes or gonorrhea?
Not to worry. The AAP advertises itself as an organization that is "dedicated to the health of all children."
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