Teen birth rates in the United States have declined during the last decade but remain much higher than rates in other developed countries. Reduction of unintended pregnancy during adolescence and the associated negative consequences of early pregnancy and early childbearing remain public health concerns. Emergency contraception has the potential to significantly reduce teen-pregnancy rates. This policy statement provides pediatricians with a review of emergency contraception, including a definition of emergency contraception, formulations and potential adverse effects, efficacy and mechanisms of action, typical use, and safety issues, including contraindications. This review includes teens' and young adults' reported knowledge and attitudes about hormonal emergency contraception and issues of access and availability. The American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as other professional organizations, supports over-the-counter availability of emergency contraception. In previous publications, the American Academy of Pediatrics has addressed the issues of adolescent pregnancy and other methods of contraception.

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