Teens are simple creatures. Teens love a few things. Teens love: social media platforms so new they’re invisible to the naked eye of an adult; experimenting with mood-altering substances; cheap hair dye; trolling; and also the morning-after pill. The AP reports on new numbers from the CDC. Over the last ten years, as the morning-after pill has been made more widely available to prescription-less teens, their use has jumped from one in twelve to one in five. Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy said that “teens, like adults, often are not very good at contraception,” and that “In the battle between sex and sex with contraception, sex often wins.” Hence the morning-after pill’s popularity.

Really, Bill Albert? Teenagers who buy and use the morning-after pill—which, unlike the pill and other forms of hormonal birth control, is available for purchase without a prescription—are "not very good at contraception"?


The morning-after pill is contraception. Teen sex rates have held steady since the early 2000s—roughly 45% of all teenagers, male and female, are sexually active—but teen pregnancy and abortion rates have continued to plummet since 2000 thanks "to improvements in teens’ contraceptive use," says the Guttmacher Institute. Greater use of the morning-after pill by teenagers is one of the improvements Guttmacher credits.

The morning-after pill was initially marketed as a fall-back measure. Regular birth control pills and/or condoms were supposed to be everybody's Plan A and the morning-after pill would be "Plan B," a lifesaver for people foolish enough to have impulsive unprotected sex or unlucky enough to have a condom break. But for teenagers who may not be having vaginal intercourse regularly—or for teenagers may not want mom and dad to know they're having sex at all—the morning-after pill is a legitimate Plan A. Birth control pills taken daily, IUDs, and condoms are more effective, but the morning-after pill are highly effective.

The head of National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy shouldn't be out there telling the AP that teenagers who rely on the morning-after pill are bad at contraception. He should be out there heaping praise on these teenagers for being excellent at contraception—while at the same time advocating for easier access to more effective, longer-lasting forms of birth control for sexually-active teenagers.