Isle of Wight pill for 13 year olds policy challenged
1 November 2010
Isle of Wight pill-for-13-year-olds policy challenged London, 1 November 2010: A pilot scheme for pharmacies to give teenagers as young as 13 the contraceptive pill has been condemned by the Safe at School campaign.
The pilot is being run on the Isle of Wight.
"This is a sad and misguided move", said Antonia Tully of Safe at School and a mother of four teenage children.
"It's sad because it is sexualising young teenagers and priming them for premature sex. It's misguided because over the last 10 years more than £200 million of taxpayers' money been spent on initiatives like this in England and Wales and have failed to have any benefit. Many more teenagers now have sexually-transmitted diseases, and registered abortions have continued at the same high level. The number of teenage births have declined slightly, but nowhere near the 50% target. This result suggests that schemes like this encourage illegal under-age sex, and expose more young people to risk."
"Schemes like this make all teenagers vulnerable to unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Teenagers need parenting, not pills. We need a new approach to the problem of teenage pregnancies, an approach that gets parents involved in this area of their children's lives. This means scrapping schemes which give under-age children contraceptives without their parents knowing anything about it and encourage abuse. I'd like to see programmes which promote self-esteem for teenagers - they deserve better than free contraceptives", concluded Mrs Tully.