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Birth control: NYC schools dispensing morning-after pill to girls

Birth control  – Plan B, morning-after pills – are distributed at 53 schools in New York's 1-million-student school system. About 7,000 15- to 17-year-old New York City girls get pregnant annually.

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Birth control is being distributed at high schools in New York City. Girls as young as 14 will be able to get emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step at 53 high schools, said the New York City Department of Education.

AP/Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc./File

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It's a campaign believed to be unprecedented in its size and aggressiveness: New York City is dispensing the morning-after pill to girls as young as 14 at more than 50 public high schools, sometimes even before they have had sex.

The effort to combat teen pregnancy in the nation's largest city contrasts sharply with the views of politicians and school systems in more conservative parts of the country.

Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Association in Washington, calls it "a terrible case once again of bigotry of low expectations" – presuming that teen girls will have sex anyway, and effectively endorsing that.

But some doctors say more schools should follow New York's lead.

Emergency contraception is safe and effective "if you use it in a timely fashion. It provides relief or solace to a young woman or man who has made a mistake but doesn't want to have to live with that mistake for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Cora Breuner, a Seattle physician and member of an American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on teen health.

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