Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
A doctors group says teenagers should be given prescriptions for the morning-after pill in case they one day need emergency contraception.
A doctors group is recommending that teens be given advance prescriptions for the morning-after pill.
Girls younger than the age of 17 are banned from buying the morning-after pill without a doctor's prescription.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics, the country's leading medical society of pediatricians, is recommending that doctors give younger girls an advance prescription for emergency contraception in case they one day need it.
The recommendation is an attempt to curb the teen pregnancy rate, which is higher in the United States than in most other developed countries.
Pediatricians do not have to follow the recommendation.
"As a parent myself, it's concerning that if my child was to think about using contraception and didn't have my advice," said Dr. Angela Walker, a obstetrician-gynecologist in Mansfield.
"I am torn, because there are plenty of teenagers that, with that medicine available, may be able to avoid an unplanned pregnancy," she said.
Last December, the Food and Drug Administration was prepared to lift the age ban on the morning-after pill, but the then-director of the Department of Health and Human Services put a stop to it, saying girls would not understand how to use the product without adult guidance.