By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
As part of a government drive to cut teenage pregnancy, sexual health clinics in secondary schools in England are now dispensing the “morning after pill” without parental permission to girls as young as 11 years old.
Gill Frances, the chairman of the Government’s independent advisory group on teenage pregnancy, told the London Telegraph: “Of course we wish under 16s were not having sex at all, but if they are it is important that they are protected from sexually-transmitted diseases and having babies.”
Almost half of all British schools now offer children a wide range of services, including free condoms, pregnancy kits and emergency contraception.
Information obtained from the health department under the Freedom of Information Act by Norman Wells, director of campaign group Family Education Trust, found that health clinics in just one school district dispensed 1,081 morning after pills to schoolgirls in the last six years.
He also discovered that staff at the more than 1,000 clinics throughout the UK are not required to obtain parental permission before giving the drug to girls, which can cause an abortion if taken after conception.
“In fact there’s evidence it may be making matters worse,” Wells told the London Times. “Confidential school clinics enable boys to put even more pressure on girls to have sex as Mum needn’t know anything about it.”
Wells also said that the morning after pills are doing nothing to reduce either pregnancy or abortion rates. In June, the British health department showed the number of abortions on young teenagers rose significantly in 2007 compared with the year before. The number of abortions performed on girls younger than 14 years of age rose 21 percent from 2006 to 2007 while abortions across all age groups rose 2.5 percent.
“Research shows making the morning-after pill more readily available doesn’t make the slightest difference to unintended pregnancy and abortion rates,” Wells said.
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