Doctors should prescribe 'Plan B' to teens before they start having sex, according to new advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The AAP hopes the strategy will reduce America's rate of teen pregnancies, which is the highest of any developed nation, the LA Times reports. It perhaps goes without saying that most teenage pregnancies are unintended. Almost 80% occur after unprotected or "underprotected" sex.
The reason for giving teens the prescription ahead of time is to ensure they get emergency contraception quickly if they need it. Plan B, otherwise known as the morning after pill, needs to be taken within 3-5 days of unprotected sex, but works best if taken within 24 hours.
Women age 17 or older can buy the medicine over the counter, but teens who are 16 years and younger need a prescription.
However, some pediatricians will baulk at the idea of providing teens with advance emergency contraception, fearing that it may encourage young people to have sex.