Academy Urges Access

To Birth Control for Teens

CHICAGO -- Teenagers need access to birth control and emergency contraception, not the abstinence-only approach to sex education favored by religious groups and President Bush, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' updated policy on teen pregnancy.

"Even though there is great enthusiasm in some circles for abstinence-only interventions, the evidence does not support abstinence-only interventions as the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy," said Jonathan D. Klein, chairman of the academy committee that wrote the new recommendations.

The report appears in July's Pediatrics, being published Tuesday. It updates a 1998 policy by omitting the statement that "abstinence counseling is an important role for all pediatricians." The new policy says that although doctors should encourage adolescents to postpone sexual activity, they also should help ensure that all teenagers -- not just sexually active ones -- have access to birth control, including emergency contraception.

Wade F. Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said counseling only abstinence, preferably until marriage, is the best approach because it sends a clear, consistent message. Teenagers who are sexually active should have access to contraception, Horn said, but making birth control available to teenagers who are not sends a contradictory message. The academy's recommendations "to some extent confuse prevention and intervention," he said.

Citing 2003 government data, the academy's report says more than 45 percent of high school girls and 48 percent of boys have had sexual intercourse. Although teen pregnancy rates have decreased in recent years, about 900,000 U.S. teenagers get pregnant each year.

Remains Found During

Search for Missing Boy, 9

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- Authorities said they found human remains during their search for a missing 9-year-old boy whose sister was found Saturday at a restaurant with a registered sex offender.

Sheriff Rocky Watson said the remains found in western Montana will be sent to an FBI laboratory for DNA analysis. He did not say whether the remains were believed to be those of Dylan Groene. Officials said previously there was little hope that Dylan was still alive.

Dylan's sister, Shasta, 8, was found with Joseph Edward Duncan III, 42, more than six weeks after the children disappeared from the house where their mother, an older brother and their mother's boyfriend were bludgeoned to death.

* ATLANTA -- The United Church of Christ's rulemaking body endorsed same-sex marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination, with 1.3 million members, to do so.

* FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- At a time when the war in Iraq has made it tougher for the Army to recruit new members for its all-volunteer force, soldiers are reenlisting slightly ahead of a pace to reach the Army's goal of 64,162 reenlistments by the end of September. By the end of May, 45,333 soldiers had reenlisted -- or 70 percent of the goal, the Pentagon said.

* MIAMI -- A tropical storm watch was issued for the entire Louisiana coast as a tropical depression gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico.

-- From News Services