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The New York Department of Health launches program to reduce unplanned pregnancies.

New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene began offering Plan B contraceptive pills Monday at school-based clinics and community health centers, according to a spokesman for the department.

CBS New York reported that high school students as young as 14 were being given access to the contraceptive without parental notification in 13 New York City public high schools.

However, Health Department spokesman Jean Weinberg said that parents were notified of the program in advance and given the opportunity to opt out.

Typically, 1 to 2 percent of parents opt out of similar programs, according to Weinberg.

More than 7,000 New York City residents under age 17 become pregnant each year, according to a statement from the Department of Health.

More than 90 percent of the pregnancies are unplanned, and approximately 64 percent are terminated.

“We are committed to trying new approaches, like this pilot program in place since January 2011, to improve a situation that can have lifelong consequences,” the Department of Health wrote.

The distribution of Plan B is part of a program called Connecting Adolescents to Contraceptive Health (CATCH), which also offers free condoms at school clinics.

The latest program comes less than a week after American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines recommending that doctors offer adolescent girls low-maintenance birth control, like IUDs and implants.

[ed. IUD mechanism of action is to prevent implantation of developing human embryo in the uterus.]

[Sept. 24, 2012,]