Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Plan B: What Teen Advocates Need to Know

As of this writing, a federal appeals court has put a hold on the previous ruling, which would allow over the counter access to Plan-B, also known as “the morning after pill”, to people fifteen years old and older as opposed to seventeen and older as was the previous decision.  Regardless of how this issue plays out in the coming days and months, the increased publicity about the issue is undoubtedly bringing a greater awareness of this emergency contraception option to teens.  Here are some things those of us working with teens should know.

  • Teens who may be seeking Plan-B due to sexual violence or an unwanted sexual encounter can get help from the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network by phone or online. (Source: http://apps.rainn.org/ohl-bridge/)
  • Teens who are under 17 are able to get Plan-B with a prescription from their health care provider.  (Source: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/emergency-contraception-morning-after-pill-4363.asp)
  • A previous ruling would have allowed people fifteen and over to purchase Plan-B over the counter, but as of this writing, fifteen and sixteen year olds are not permitted to do so.
  • Both men and women are allowed to buy Plan-B. (Source: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/emergency-contraception-morning-after-pill-4363.asp)
  • Plan-B is most effective if it is taken as soon after the concerning sexual encounter as possible.  (Source: http://www.teenclinic.org/about/get-healthy/emergency-contraception-plan-b/)
  • Plan-B has been called “safe and effective[…] for all females of childbearing potential” by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD. (Source: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/ucm282805.htm)
  • Teens seeking information on contraception will find information and resources here: http://www.stayteen.org/birth-control-101
  • Plan-B works by either delaying ovulation or by interfering with implantation.  It is similar to birth control pills in makeup as it includes a synthetic form of progesterone.  (Source: http://women.webmd.com/guide/plan-b)
  • Plan-B is not the same as a medical abortion, in which the drug causes a separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. (Source: http://women.webmd.com/mifepristone-and-misoprostol-for-abortion)
  • Plan-B is not the only emergency contraception option, but it is the only one available, even in a limited way, over the counter.  Ella and Next Choice are available only through a prescription.  A copper IUD (Paragard) can also be inserted as an EC measure.  This must be done by a medical professional.  (Source: http://www.hhs.gov/opa/reproductive-health/contraception/emergency-contraception/)
Three Good Books on Teen Sexual Health
This is a hefty resource that covers it all in a very thorough, well researched manner.  Both students doing reports and teens seeking information of a personal nature will benefit from this volume.
More approachable than the above text, this addresses a broad scope of issues on a clear, conversational tone.
Sex: A Book For Teens, (Zest, 2010)
“An uncensored guide to your body, sex, and safety.” Frank and humorous, the cover art may titillate teens into picking it up, but the core information will be even more satisfying.