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Morning-After Pill Prescribed in Advance?

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — A new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics has sparked a fire storm of opinions.

They suggest that the morning-after pill be prescribed to teens in advance, in case they end up needing it.

“I don’t think that they need it,” says Shannon Slavis of Holyoke. “I don’t think that’s a good message to send to children, that it’s okay if you want to have sex underage because here’s a pill that will take care of it for you, no problem.”

“A lot of kids in high school — we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think that they’re sexually active and also we don’t have full-time jobs,” say Ivy Croteau of Northampton. “It’s a very expensive pill, what’s it, like $50, $60?”

When it comes to the morning after pill, there’s no shortage of opinions, and a new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is definitely fueling the dialog.

On Monday, their Committee on Adolescence came out in favor of dispensing the drug, even if teens have yet to ask for it.

“We’re thrilled with it,” says Ann Poole, assistant director of Tapestry Health. “Anything that we at Tapestry can do to support and increase the use of emergency contraception is great for us.”

The academy say that without strict adherence, birth control pills can be ineffective and condoms can easily break or slip.

They believe that by making the morning after pill more accessible, we could see a big drop in teen pregnancies nationwide.

“The morning after pill is effective to prevent unwanted pregnancy up to 120 hours after the unprotected sex, or sex with a method failure,” says Poole. “So, that’s 5 days and that really helps teens and women of all ages decide and kind of see what their options are.”

Poole adds, “Without having access to that, it does narrow it.”

Of course, not everyone agrees.

Today, Slavis told us she’s okay with offering condoms to prevent pregnancy, but offering a pill takes it a step too far.

“People are going to do it,” says Slavis. “They’re going to, because that’s proven that that’s going to happen, but getting pregnant is a big deal.”

Right now, females 17 and older and males 18 and older can obtain the morning after pill over-the-counter. Anyone under that age must obtain a prescription.

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