By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In another misguided attempt to cut teen pregnancy rates, authorities in the UK are planning to issue condom “credit cards” to boys as young as 12 years old which they can use to pick up free condoms in places where boys congregate – such as football games and barber shops – to spare them the embarrassment of having to visit a pharmacy or clinic.
According to an article appearing this weekend in the London TimesOnline, boys will be able to receive condoms simply by showing them the plastic card – called a “C” card – which is issued after they have attended a safe-sex class, according to the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which is running the program. Boys who attend additional talks about sexually transmitted diseases will get a stamp on their card, which the Department hopes will become a “status symbol.”
The new idea is intended to cut teen pregnancies and persuade sexually active boys to behave more responsibly. Currently, Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe and the government has failed in its pledge to halve rates of pregnancy in girls under the age of 18. Other failed programs include widespread distribution of contraceptives and making the morning-after-pill available over-the-counter.
Opponents of the condom cards say this program will fail just like all the others because it encourages sexual activity.
“We are just facilitating and encouraging sexuality without any deeper understanding of the emotional side of relationships,” said Josephine Quintavalle, founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics. “We used to talk about recreational sex among 18-year-olds – now it is 13-year-olds.”
Britain’s teen pregnancy problem made international news this year when a 15 year old girl gave birth to a child who was believed to have been fathered by a 12 year old. It was later discovered that the real father was 15.
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