There’s no culture war like the contraception war. And whether you’re a Catholic churchgoer, a Planned Parenthood donor, a House Republican, or a Code Pink activist, there are few better ways to spoil holidays with the in-laws than to bring up birth control at the dinner table.
It was considerate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, then, to wait until after the Thanksgiving weekend to release a policy brief recommending that physicians pre-prescribe emergency contraception—known as Plan B or Next Choice—to teenage patients, in order to ensure their ability to obtain it when needed. Onerous federal laws discourage teens from using so-called “morning-after pills,” despite the enormous human and financial costs of an unplanned pregnancy, and according to the AAP, physicians might remedy the problem by writing high schoolers a script for Plan B long before the morning after.
As it stands, girls younger than seventeen require a doctor’s prescription to purchase the pill. As Princeton’s James Trussell has noted, there’s no medical justification for this restriction, and the list of countries where emergency contraception is freely available includes Iran, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, and much of sub-Saharan Africa.
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