WBEZ | sexual health http://www.wbez.org/tags/sexual-health Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Plan B push for young teenage girls http://www.wbez.org/news/plan-b-push-young-teenage-girls-104029 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/morning after pill.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The so-called morning after pill may soon be a lot easier for young teenage girls to get their hands on. Currently, only those who are 17 and older can buy emergency contraceptives over-the-counter.<br /><br />The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging doctors to offer contraceptives, like Plan B, &nbsp;to all adolescents---regardless of age. The Chicago-based AAP said teen pregnancies have significantly decreased over the past two decades. But the U.S. still has the highest birth rate in adolescents compared to all other developed countries.<br /><br />&ldquo;We think the reason that it hasn&rsquo;t affected the rate of teen pregnancy is because kids don&rsquo;t know about it, teenagers don&rsquo;t know about emergency contraception,&rdquo; said professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Seattle Children&rsquo;s Hospital at the University of Washington, Cora Breuner.<br /><br />&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t actually know if that would reduce teen pregnancy because there&rsquo;s no data showing that advanced prescription will reduce it,&rdquo; Breuner said. &ldquo;But we do know that when you do prescribe it, teenagers will use it, as oppose to many of the drugs that we write prescriptions for and people don&rsquo;t fill, this one, they do.&rdquo;<br /><br />Melissa Gilliam, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Chicago, said teenage pregnancy is a complex issue that will require many steps to solve. In one week, Gilliam said she treated three 12-year-old girls who were all sexually active. &nbsp;<br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know that we&rsquo;ll actually see big changes due to this, however, it represents a very important step in the right direction, which is acknowledging adolescent behavior,&rdquo; Gilliam said. &ldquo;And instead of saying, &#39;Oh we don&rsquo;t want to talk about this because we wish it didn&rsquo;t exist,&#39; to actually try and have very realistic and practical approaches to preventing teen pregnancy.&rdquo;<br /><br />The AAP is pushing for emergency contraceptives to be available over-the-counter to adolescents of all ages and for pediatricians to offer advanced prescriptions and education to their patients.<br /><br />The recommendation was published in a policy paper today.</p></p> Mon, 26 Nov 2012 17:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/plan-b-push-young-teenage-girls-104029