The hearing will take place at 10.30 a.m. in Court 2, the Royal Courts
of Justice, The Strand. The presiding judge will be Mr Justice Scott
Mr John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, said: "The government's
statutory instrument which reclassified the Levonelle-2 morning-after
pill is a threat to the health of the nation and, more especially, to
the youth of the nation. The standard dosage of the morning-after pill2
delivers 50 times the dosage of the daily mini-pill contraceptive, even
though no adequate tests have been conducted into its long-term impact
"Major television and press reports have highlighted the fact that
under-age girls are able to obtain morning-after pills from pharmacies
in spite of the 16 years age limit. The policy therefore represents a
real danger to young girls and women. Provision of the morning-after
pill is not entered on a woman's medical records, and her GP is only
informed if she agrees.
"The morning-after pill offers no protection against sexually
transmitted diseases. Between 1995 and 1998 when the number of
prescriptions for the drug was rising towards one million per year, the
incidence of chlamydia among 16 to 19-year-olds was increasing by 28%
per year. Furthermore, the greater availability of the morning-after
pill will not reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies or abortions.
The abortion rate per 1,000 resident women in 1991 was 13.06, and by
1998 this had risen to 13.92. During this time, use of the
morning-after pill rose four to five-fold.
"The government's statutory instrument is an attempt to
circumvent the Abortion Act 1967, which provides such limited
supervision of abortion as there is. It ushers in an entirely
unsupervised 'abortion by pill' procedure. It is not right for the
government to impose such a burden on pharmacists by allowing them to
commit criminal acts under the Offences Against the Person Act 18614.
"By its action, SPUC is not simply seeking to stop the unlawful killing
of early-developing unborn children. It also aims to protect women and
young girls from harm, and pharmacists from criminal liability when the
dangers which are so obvious begin to result in actual harm to those
who have obtained the drug from chemists' shops."