Much is being made of a recent recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that Plan B One Step, or Next Choice, be more widely available to teenagers younger than 17. The recommendation is, specifically, that pediatricians talk to their young patients about the “morning after” pill, and send them home with a prescription. And it is, as New York Times reporter Roni Caryn Rabin writes, “the latest salvo in the contentious debate over access to emergency contraception.”
That debate is part of the broader debate about reproductive rights, abortion (though Plan B prevents conception, and is not an abortifacient) and America’s children.
In a perfect world, the theories of abstinence only and efforts of the National Abstinence Education Association would prevail, girls under 17 would not have unintended pregnancies and all babies would be wanted. But for now, we live in an imperfect world. The better we care for teenagers now and ahead, and for the unwanted children already here, the less imperfect it will be.
Bravo for the American Academy of Pediatrics.