Morning-after pill

Source: Jacques LOIC / Getty

A report released Wednesday shows more than 1 in 5 sexually active teen girls have used the morning-after pill. This dramatic increase likely reflects the change that made it easier now for teens to buy the emergency contraceptive.

The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female hormone progestin than is in regular birth control pills and if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex it can cut the chances of pregnancy by nearly 90 percent.  The number of teens using the morning-after pill rose steadily from a decade earlier, when it was 1 in 12.

This new information derives from a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Age limits on buying the pill were lifted two years ago and 2006 bookmarked the time when teens 18 and older could start buying it over the counter.

Another one of the report’s main findings was the proportion of teens who said they’ve had sex. The number of sexually active teens steadily fell from the late 1980s until the early 2000s.

According to experts, a decline in teen sexual activity and better use of contraception has driven a major drop in teen birth rates since 1991.  Around a decade ago the decrease in teen sex leveled off, at about 45 percent for both boys and girls, and there was no change in the latest report.


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