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Doctor Attitude Affects Counsel on Emergency Contraception

Pediatricians less accepting of abortion and teen sex counsel less on emergency contraception

THURSDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatricians who have less favorable attitudes toward abortion and teen sex are less likely to counsel their patients on emergency contraception and prescribe it in accordance with pediatric practice guidelines, according to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Krishna K. Upadhya, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted an Internet survey between April and June 2007 to gauge pediatrician attitudes and their effect on emergency contraception counseling and prescription practices. The researchers asked 141 pediatric residents to respond to seven abortion scenarios (the health of the mother is in danger and others) as well as questions reflecting attitude toward teen sex. The respondents were also asked how frequently they include emergency contraceptive information in routine contraceptive counseling.

The researchers found that the respondents whose attitude on abortion was less favorable had less intent to prescribe emergency contraception. Respondents who had a more favorable attitude toward teen sex or who had a preceptor who advocated emergency contraception were more likely to counsel patients on emergency contraception and prescribe it.

"Efforts to challenge and affect attitudes toward teen sex and to prompt residents to prescribe emergency contraception in clinical settings may be needed to encourage more proactive emergency contraceptive practice in accordance with national practice guidelines," the authors write.

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