(NEW YORK) – Does your teen know about Plan B? If not, he or she may soon get acquainted with it. All pediatricians are now encouraged to advise adolescents about the use of emergency contraception, according to Monday’s policy statement released online by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The statement says that pediatricians should inform teenaged patients about the use, availability, and effects of all forms of emergency contraception as a day-to-day practice. In addition, both male and female patients should be encouraged to get tested or treated for sexually transmitted diseases, and talk about regular contraception methods as a follow up to the use of emergency contraception.
Co-author and Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital Cora Breuner highlights the fact that these are not the same as abortion drugs or methods.
“These are progestin only medications that prevent fertilization. They do not prevent implantation, so these are not considered abortive drugs,” she says.
Breuner also states that the primary focus of the statement is to prevent unwanted teen pregnancies. The United States continues to have a higher teen birth rate compared to developed countries. Breuner and her colleagues discovered that teenagers have been found to use emergency contraception more often if they are notified about it in advance.
“I think this will provide an impetus to have a conversation with your practitioner as a parent or a patient about what you plan to do about your own family planning and reproductive health before there has to be a discussion about "I had unprotected sex" or "I had non-consensual sex,” she says.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio