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Report: More teen girls turning to morning-after pill

By Amy R. Connolly
Report: More teen girls turning to morning-after pill
President George W. Bush said on Aug. 24, 2006 he supports restricting access to emergency contraception for minors, including Plan B, as regulators weigh wider access to the 'morning-after' pill. A new report, released by the CDC on Wednesday July 22, 2015 found more than 20 percent of sexually active teen girls have turned to the morning-after pill at least once. File Photo by UPI Photo/Handout | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- More than 20 percent of sexually active teen girls have turned to the morning-after pill after the emergency contraceptive became readily available without a prescription.

The findings, released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show about 8 percent of teens turned to the morning-after pill in 2002. That number increased to nearly 14 percent from 2006 to 2010 and spiked again to 22 percent from 2011 to 2013.

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The morning-after pill is known to decrease pregnancy chances by up to 90 percent if taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. Two years ago, the age limit to purchase the over-the-counter drug was lifted. It now costs anywhere between $35 and $50 to obtain.

The report also states that the number of teens having sex, ages 15 to 19, has dropped by 14 percent for girls and 22 percent for boys in the past 25 years.

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By age 15, nearly 18 percent of boys had sex and 13 percent of girls had sex. By age 17, 44 percent of boys and 43 percent of girls had sex. By age 19, 69 percent of males had sex and 68 percent of females did the same.

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From 2011 to 2013, 79 percent of female teens and 84 percent of male teens used some method of contraception during their first sexual experience.

The report also found that in the early teen years (ages 15-16), males were more likely than females to have sex but by the age of 17, "the probabilities of having sexual intercourse were similar for males and females."

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The new findings are in line with other recently released federal data that shows the lowest-ever recorded teen birth rate. The 2014 data shows the birth rate among teens ages 15 to 19 dropped 9 percent, to 24.2 births per 1,000 women.

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