High teen pregnancy rates promp Plan B push

By: Alex Hambrick Email
By: Alex Hambrick Email

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made a recommendation that pediatricians nationwide begin informing young teens about emergency contraceptives.

The A.A.P initiative is in response to the high number of unplanned teen pregnancies in the U.S.

This controversial movement has some worried making the 'morning after pill' readily available to teens may not fix the problem and that the adverse effects may be compounding.

"I would expect to see if the purpose was to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies or abortions we would see a reduction in those two things and we haven't," said Stephanie Hyrup, Pregnancy Center counselor.

Among developed nations the U.S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancies, with 820,000 a year. Of those teen pregnancies 80 percent of them are unplanned.

Local pediatrician Dr. Mike Whistler said he thinks talking to teens about Plan B could improve this public health issue.

"You know if you are talking about a young woman an unintended pregnancy can have pretty significant consequences as far as her career goals and life long income," said Whistler.

Whistler said it should only be used in emergency situations and that it is important to talk to teens about sex before they are sexually active.

"Sex is something that you have to plan hard not to have or you have to plan hard not to get pregnant," said Whistler.

But, Hyrup said she thinks giving young girls easy access to the 'morning after pill' will only encourage risky behavior.

"We believe emergency contraception is not in the best health of women, particularly young women," said Hyrup. "It is putting chemicals and drugs into a young woman's body that we don't always know what the long term side effects are going to be."

The overall number of teen pregnancies has dropped 44 percent in the last decade, however the number of girls under the age of 15 becoming pregnant is on the rise.

Emergency contraceptives are available over-the-counter for women over the age of 17, but those younger than 17 must have a doctor's prescription.


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