November 30, 2012 — "Since nearly 80% of adolescent pregnancies are the unintentional results of contraceptive failure or nonuse, the only public health policy that makes sense is to make emergency contraception, widely known as 'Plan B,' more readily available to adolescents," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states.
The American Academy of Pediatrics this week issued a policy statement recommending that pediatricians write EC prescriptions for teenagers in advance, the editorial notes, adding that the "subtext" of the statement is that EC "needs to be available to everyone, regardless of age."
The editorial argues that FDA's current policy requiring people younger than age 17 to obtain a prescription for EC is "unrealistic for many teenagers." Research shows that advanced EC prescriptions increase use of the drugs, decrease the time between intercourse and use, and do not affect teens' level of sexual activity.
"There's no good reason" that teens must be required to obtain a prescription for EC, the editorial states, adding that FDA's "position is merely inconveniencing teenagers and their physicians alike." The editorial concludes, "If this country is serious about reducing the teen pregnancy rate, we need to make Plan B easily available to everyone" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/28).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership