Emergency Contraception Should Not Be Passed Out Like Candy GAINESVILLE, Fla.,Dec. 3, 2012/Standard
Newswire/ -- Contrary to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the
American College of Pediatricians recommends against a policy of
pre-prescribing "emergency contraceptives" to adolescents.
facilitating adolescent sexual activity, health professionals need to
encourage good adolescent-parental communication, teach adolescent
patients the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and
teach them how to avoid premature/promiscuous consensual sex and
situations resulting in coerced sex.
Research has consistently shown that increased access to "emergency
contraception" (EC) does not result in lower pregnancy rates among
adolescents and young adults, but can be associated with an increased
incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Despite self-reports
denying it; "ready access" to EC apparently increases the sexual
activity of adolescents which is a risk factor for depression and
suicide, poor school performance, more lifetime sexual partners, and an
increased divorce rate. Although some EC medications can prevent ovulation in the
adolescent female and thereby prevent fertilization by the sperm, it
also works after an egg has been fertilized by aborting a newly formed
human embryo. This may occur even when EC is taken promptly and nearly
always when taken more than 48 hours after intercourse. This information
must be presented to the adolescent in informed consent by a physician.
Because the College advocates for life from the time of conception, it
opposes all methods of EC that work after fertilization by killing a
The human brain does not reach full maturity until early
adulthood and, therefore, adolescents fundamentally need the guidance of
their parents in decision-making. Bypassing parental involvement with
advance prescriptions for emergency contraception is not best for
adolescents as EC can cause adverse side effects including
heavy/irregular menstrual bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic pain.
Any use of EC requires close monitoring.
Ready access to EC may persuade an adolescent who has
been sexually assaulted to avoid treatment by an emergency department,
foregoing a forensic exam, and losing the benefit of sexual assault
teams trained to counsel her. Such avoidance will only lead to more
sexual assaults as the perpetrator is not pursued. The
American College of Pediatricians is a national medical association of
licensed physicians and healthcare professionals. For more information
about the College, please visit our website