The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a new policy statement recommending that pediatricians counsel their adolescent patients on the use of “emergency contraception,” and provide advance prescriptions for drugs such as Plan B and Plan B One-Step.
Unfortunately, the new AAP policy contains a major flaw: it urges that pediatricians insert themselves into the relationships between adolescents and their parents.
The new AAP policy recommends the following to its member pediatricians:
All adolescents, males and females, and families of disabled adolescents should be counseled on emergency contraception as part of routine anticipatory guidance in the context of a discussion on sexual safety and family planning regardless of current intentions for sexual behavior.
Imagine that a 14 year-old sees his or her pediatrician once per year for the annual physical. This is not unusual if the teen is relatively healthy, except for the occasional cold or cough, which might even be handled by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. According to the AAP, a pediatrician should feel comfortable counseling this 14 year-old, that he or she has not seen since last year, about the importance of emergency contraception. This counseling takes place without involving the teen’s parents in the discussion, and without any real knowledge of the type of life that teen lives.