The doctors were adamant about the following happen:
- The potency of these medications demands physician oversight, and equally important their over-the-counter availability circumvents parental involvement and may facilitate adolescent abuse.
- Health professionals need to encourage good parent-child communication, teach minors the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and teach them how to avoid situations resulting in coerced sex and premature/promiscuous consensual sex.
Increased access to “emergency contraception” does not result in lower pregnancy rates among adolescents and young adults, while it is associated with an increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Despite self-reports denying it, “ready access” to this appears to increase adolescent sexual activity. Increased sexual activity is a known risk factor for depression, suicide, poor school performance, more lifetime sexual partners, and an increased divorce rate.
The release goes on to say: To demand, as some organizations do, that physicians and pharmacists who have moral objections to providing EC refer their patient to someone who has no such objections is a violation of conscience and itself unethical. Aside from differing legal considerations, the ethical equivalent of this is demanding that those who have moral objections to purchasing stolen property refer the seller to someone whom they know has no such moral objections. In both situations, conscientious objectors argue, the individual is an accessory to actions that he or she finds ethically problematic and thus a violation of conscience.
In summary, the American College of Pediatricians opposes a policy of advance prescribing of “emergency contraceptives” to adolescents. Rather than facilitating adolescent sexual activity (and failing to yield any reduction in pregnancy or abortion rates), pediatricians and other health professionals need to facilitate the best for adolescents, encouraging good adolescent-parent communication, teaching adolescents the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and teaching them how to avoid non-marital consensual sex as well as situations that might result in coerced sex. Pediatricians, other health professionals, parents and educators should also encourage the use of sexual risk elimination education programs.
For more on the doctors stance you can visit The American Pediatricians site.
What do you think? Should Plan B offered over the counter?
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