Teens are using the morning-after pill – an oral emergency contraceptive pill that disrupts ovulation or fertilization – far more than they did in years past, says a report from the CDC.
Writes The Associated Press, via Fox News: “More than 1 in 5 sexually active teen girls have used the morning-after pill – a dramatic increase that likely reflects that it’s easier now for teens to buy the emergency contraceptive.”
A report issued via a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the morning-after pill, including common brands like Plan B, Next Choice and My Way, rose steadily over the last three years than the previous ten years, when teen usage was only 1 in 12.
In April of 2013, the FDA approved Plan B One-Step for sale in the United States to anyone 15 years of age and older, without a prescription, if they can show proof of age. Two months later, the Obama administration ceased federal efforts to block over-the-counter availability. Any girl can now purchase the pill without going through a pharmacist.
The pill – containing high doses of the female hormone progestin – reduces the risk of pregnancy by 90 percent if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.
Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said the fact teens have more than doubled their use of the morning-after pill shows that little thought goes into contraception – only the potential consequences after teens engage in unsafe, unprotected sex.
“Teens, like adults, often are not very good at contraception,” Albert said. “In the battle between sex and sex with contraception, sex often wins.”
The morning-after pill is not the same as the abortion pill. Morning-after pills, using the active ingredient Levonorgestrel, prevent an egg from leaving the female’s ovary and being fertilized by sperm. The abortion pill can generally be used up to nine weeks after a missed period to induce abortion.
Although morning-after pills are being purchased and used more, teens are actually having less sex than they were decades ago. Explains the AP:
“One of the report’s main findings has been the proportion of teens who said they’ve had sex. Those figures steadily fell from the late 1980s until the early 2000s — a decrease commonly attributed to improved sex education and greater concern by teens about AIDS and other sexually spread diseases.”
The decrease has since plateaued; currently about 45 percent of all teenage boys and girls in the U.S. are sexually active.
Sound off below: Any thoughts on teens using the morning-after pill?