The Morning After for Teens

The latest policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics may make parents wince, but the physicians’ organization hasn’t minced words on a controversial subject: It recommends it member doctors offer teenage patients emergency contraception, including Plan B-type medications to prevent unwanted pregnancies if they’ve had unprotected sex.

In a policy statement released in late November, the AAP noted that while teen pregnancy rates are on the decline internationally the United States continues to experience higher birth rates compared to other developing countries. The AAP notes that “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.

The organization also notes pediatricians can and should play in important role in counseling teens about preventing unwanted pregnancies. Its statement “Emergency Contraception” was to be published in the December edition of the journal Pediatrics.