WASHINGTON, D.C. The country's leading pediatrics association has urged its members to provide information about the "morning-after" pill to under-age, female patients and give them prescriptions in advance for the drug, which can cause abortions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, which has 60,000 members, made the recommendation Nov. 26, according to Reuters News Service. If heeded by pediatricians, the policy would enable girls under 17 to acquire the "morning-after" pill more quickly after sexual intercourse.
Under federal regulations, girls 16 and under must have prescriptions to buy the drug. Women 17 and older do not need a prescription, but they must request the drug from pharmacists, who stock it behind their counters.
The "morning-after" pill, also known as emergency contraception, is basically a heavier dose of birth control pills. There are two-step versions Plan B and Next Choice and one-step versions Plan B One-Step and Next Choice One Dose.
Under the two-part regimen, a woman takes a pill within 72 hours of sexual intercourse and another dose 12 hours later. The one-step version is taken in a single dose within 72 hours.
The "morning-after" pill can restrict ovulation in a woman or prevent fertilization, but it also can block implantation of the early embryo in the uterine wall. The latter effect causes an abortion, pro-life advocates point out.