Realistic view of teen sex supports access to emergency contraception

LETTER — Posted March 15, 2004

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I appreciate the concern expressed by American College of Pediatricians President Joseph Zanga, MD, about the possible overuse/abuse and thus untoward effects of emergency contraception by children and adolescents (Letters, Feb. 9).

I also appreciate that we don't know what the long-term effects of emergency contraception will be. That doesn't, however, change the known consequences of teen pregnancy.

Dr. Zanga is absolutely correct that adolescent reasoning and judgment is not mature. Unfortunately, their reproductive tracts are mature enough to conceive.

I would certainly prefer that teenage girls abstain from sexual activity, and I actively counsel that way.

But I am a realist, and that leads me to support access to emergency contraception.

I am trying, like many of my peers, to protect the children. Emergency contraception is underused by this most vulnerable population because of the barriers.

Education and parental involvement need to be addressed, but not at the expense of efficacy.

Laura B. Moylan, MD, Dover, Del.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/03/15/edlt0315.htm.

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