Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Teenage Girls Secretly Given Contraceptive Implants and Injections in U.K. Schools

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In the past two years thousands of teenage girls across the United Kingdom — some as young as 13 — have been given contraceptive injections or implants without their parents’ knowledge or consent, according to National Health Service (NHS) data obtained by the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper obtained the data from NHS trusts (regional healthcare authorities) via Freedom of Information laws.

The data reveal that school nurses have given over 900 contraceptive implants or injections to girls between the ages of 13 and 16, with more than 20 of those going specifically to 13-year-olds. In addition, 7,400 girls aged 15 and under have been given implants or injections at family planning clinics.

The implants, inserted into girls’ arms, release hormones into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The injections are effective for no more than three months.

The Telegraph undertook its investigation after reporting earlier this year that schools in Southampton had been fitting young girls with contraceptive implants without their parents’ knowledge. At that time the paper believed that “the practice [was] widespread after ministers ordered councils to spend money on offering implants and other long-acting contraceptives three years ago.”

The investigation revealed that schools in at least six regions are indeed providing contraceptive implants and injections to teenage girls without so much as a by-your-leave for their parents.

“The number of girls given implants and jabs is likely to be higher as many trusts claimed they did not keep records or said releasing information would breach patient confidentiality,” the paper writes.

In fact, patient confidentiality laws in the U.K. are such that nurses are prohibited from seeking parents’ consent for their daughters to be given contraceptives and even from informing the parents that the procedure has been administered.

“Young people under the age of 16 are legally able to access contraceptive and sexual health services and any advice given will be kept confidential,” Health Minister Dr. Dan Poulter told the Telegraph. “However, the health professional must always encourage a young person to talk to their parents about their sexual health.”

But as Dr. Peter Saunders, chief executive officer of Britain’s Christian Medical Fellowship, observed: “Children under 16 cannot drink in a pub, drive, vote or watch certain films and parental consent is required for any other medical or surgical procedure. Why is this issue so different, especially when contraceptive implants pose health risks — in particular the danger of them ‘going missing’ and damaging later fertility?”

Furthermore, he noted, “sex under 16 is not only illegal, it can also be profoundly damaging — physically, emotionally and spiritually. To facilitate such behavior behind parents’ backs is unprofessional, irresponsible and morally wrong.”

Saunders pointed to other dangers inherent in providing teenage girls with easy, confidential access to contraceptives. “Young people who feel that they are secure and protected by contraception will take more risks sexually,” he wrote. Just as the use of seatbelts encourages some drivers to drive more recklessly because they feel that they are protected from injury, he argued, so offering girls protection against pregnancy is likely to encourage them to have more sexual encounters, thereby increasing their risks of sexually transmitted diseases and sexual exploitation.

Moreover, stated Saunders, the government’s attempt to tackle teen pregnancy by giving girls long-term contraceptives “is not evidence-based — it is effectively an untested strategy paid for by taxpayers’ money and promoted by the government. There is, by contrast, real evidence that making contraceptives more widely available does not reduce unplanned pregnancy rates in a population and may actually increase the incidence of sexually transmitted infections.”

“The strategy,” he declared, “is based on two false premises — that contraceptives are 100% effective and that abstinence is impossible.”

Of course, for the libertine left, self-control is out of the question, which is why the United Nations, aligned nongovernmental organizations, and governments the world over favor giving out contraceptives like candy, even to minors.

However, the British government has an additional incentive to make birth control easy for teenagers to obtain: If a girl gets pregnant, the government will have to pay for prenatal care and birth and child healthcare, quite possibly followed by years of welfare. “Free” contraception, if it succeeds in reducing teenage pregnancies, is considerably cheaper.

British parents are right to be outraged by this policy. But if they want the government to stop interfering in their lives and the lives of their children, they need to stop depending on it to take care of them. As long as the state is one’s provider, it will also be his master.