WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two medical associations have issued reports within weeks of one another promoting the use of abortifacient birth control methods – some of which carry long-term health risks – to adolescents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement in November asking doctors, including school nurses, to promote the use of “emergency contraception” among sexually active teens.
In October, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a study suggesting American women, especially teenage girls, should use long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as IUDs or other implants.
Both Plan B and the IUD may block fertilization, but may also work to prevent a newly conceived child from implanting in the uterine walls, resulting in a chemical abortion – a fact denied by the AAP.
“These methods [emergency contraceptives] are absolutely not an abortion,” said Dr. Cora Breuner of the University of Washington in Seattle, and the lead author of the AAP statement.
She hoped school nurses and pediatricians would take the initiative to prescribe “emergency contraception” to adolescents. The morning-after pill is available without a prescription to girls 17 and older, although its target demographic is as young as 15.
Meanwhile, IUD use is rising – but not fast enough for ACOG.
The ACOG study says that “intrauterine devices and the contraceptive implant are safe and appropriate contraceptive methods for most women and adolescents.” Sexually active adolescents “may benefit from increased access to LARC methods.”
Such a conclusion dovetails with the Obama administration’s argument that making contraception available as widely as possible serves a compelling government interest, bolstering its legal defense of the HHS mandate.
Both reports were released just as 40 pro-abortion organizations are lobbying the Department of Health and Human Services to make “emergency contraception” available over-the-counter.
Critics warn the reports overlook health concerns associated with such methods, both known and unknown, and may place exploited children at greater risk.
“Will ACOG be held liable in the inevitable future lawsuits filed by young girls and their parents when the girls are rendered permanantly sterile by the IUD, which is a common side effect of these devices, or when they are infected with incurable STIs?” Brian Clowes, the director of research and education for Human Life International, said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “ACOG does not even seem to consider the likelihood of incest, rape or human trafficking en route to simply recommending birth control for such young girls, or consider that their recommendation will make it harder to find and prosecute the men victimizing these girls.”
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Steve Mosher of Population Research Institute has noted the Mirena IUD’s side effects “include amenorrhea, intermenstrual bleeding and spotting, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, headache, migraines, acne, depression, and mood swings.”
Long-term use of Depo-Provera carries the risk of bone loss, with some evidence suggesting this is especially the case during adolescence and early adulthood.
The American College of Pediatricians released a statement directly contradicting the AAP policy, saying good parenting and responsible sexual behavior are the real answers.
“Rather than facilitating adolescent sexual activity, health professionals need to encourage good adolescent-parental communication, teach adolescent patients the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage, and teach them how to avoid premature/promiscuous consensual sex and situations resulting in coerced sex,” the ACP stated.