So we’re going about the issue of underage girls having access to Plan B in a different way this time around. Despite last year’s completely uncalled for turn over of the FDA’s decision to make Plan B available without a prescription, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made a recommendation of their own. The organization of over 60,000 doctors says that pediatricians should entertain the idea of scribbling out “just-in-case prescriptions” for the morning after pill for their teenage patients. And their reasoning is pretty sound.
Msnbc reports that the organization is looking to prevent unplanned teen pregnancies with such a measure — an intention that is somewhat hindered with that mandatory prescription for girls under the age of 17 thing:
AAP says many teenaged girls need emergency contraception, and their pediatricians should help make it easy for them to get it. “Studies have shown that adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it has been prescribed in advance of need,” the group said in a policy statement.
“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,” it added.
Much like the hysteria surrounding the HPV vaccine about incentivizing middle school orgies, a 2010 review of seven randomized studies determined that teens who were in possession of a Plan B prescription were not more inclined to abandon birth control or sleep with the entire debate team. Not surprisingly, the AAP’s recommendation is already turning some heads:
“It’s just common sense that requiring a prescription is a barrier,” said Bill Alpert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “If an august and respected medical group like AAP is suggesting providing emergency contraception to minors is OK, that is a big deal.”
But obtaining the prescription isn’t the only “barrier” teenagers confront in this arena. Msnbc reports that one recent 2012 study determined that of 17-year-old girls who did call pharmacies inquiring about the availability of the drug, only 57 percent were correctly told that they could get the pill without a doctor’s prescription. Not surprisingly, the AAP says that a refusal to pen those prescriptions is perhaps correlated to “the physician’s beliefs about whether it is OK for teenagers to have sex.” Not a reverence for what the FDA — and therefore scientists, doctors, and research — has proclaimed safe for our daughters.