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Morning-after birth control recommendation

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Amarillo, TX -- A recent industry recommendation would make morning-after birth control available to girls younger than 17.

On Monday (Nov. 29), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended their members prescribe emergency contraceptives to teenagers in need of them.

This comes on the heels of a similar recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that preventive birth control be made available without a prescription.

Both recommendations are part of a broader federal push to reduce teen pregnancies, and consequently, abortions.

Although teen pregnancy has been on the decline since the 90s, the report says 80 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended, and 27 percent of those end in abortion.  Now some medical professionals say expanding access to birth control could help combat the problem.

"Many of us in the health care business believe that it should really be over-the-counter where a patient can see it," says Dr. Robert Kauffman of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, "When it's right there and they can see it, they'll buy it.  We know that it's going to work a lot better and we'll have a lower pregnancy rate if it's readily available."

The drugs in question are morning-after contraceptives like Plan B, which do not induce abortion, but rather prevent conception from taking place.

This is not the first time such a move has been proposed.  A similar proposal in 2006 was rejected by the Food and Drug Administration on grounds it did not present enough evidence that doing so would be safe for girls that young.

As the law currently stands, anyone over the age of 17 can purchase morning after birth control without a prescription.

If you'd like to read the report for yourself, follow the link attached to this story.

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