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Prescribe Morning-After Pill to Teens in Advance?

'Violation of Conscience'?

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, based in Front Royal, Va., says he disagrees with that policy. “We reject this statement as a violation of conscience,” says Mosher, whose anti-abortion organization states that one of its goals is to "expose the myth of overpopulation."

Encouraging pediatricians to advocate for making emergency contraception available without a prescription to girls under 17, as the new policy statement does, “is a violation of parents’ rights and is also not in the best interest of the teenagers themselves,” Mosher says.

Elise Berlan, MD, MPH, an adolescent medicine specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Ohio State University, says she’s rarely encountered a doctor whose personal beliefs prohibited discussion of emergency contraception. However, Berlan says, there’s been little research into why pediatricians do or don’t talk about sexual activity and birth control with their teen patients.

Some doctors might be concerned about being able to keep the conversation confidential, Berlan says. The federal HIPAA privacy rule protects confidential discussions between doctors and teen patients if their parents agree to leave the room, she says. 

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