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Girls To Be Able To Text For The Morning-After Pill

Posted Mar 26 2009 3:54pm

A new proposal will start later in the year, whereby schoolgirls will have the ability to send a text message to their school nurse in order to obtain the morning-after pill.

Due to the high pregnancy rate in teenagers in Oxfordshire, six schools in the county will pilot the scheme.

All the girls at the four schools in Oxford and two in Banbury will be given access to the service should they have sex without using protection, or if the contraception they were using fails. There is no obligation for the school to inform parents if their daughter requests the morning-after pill.

If a girl under 14 tries to use the service child protection staff will be called in.

Not everyone thinks the project is a good idea however as family and religious campaigners oppose the plans. They also raised concerns over whether there would be any regulation over how many times each girl used the service.

The names of the schools have not been disclosed but the project will be up and running in July.

As part of the service, girls will be given a link to the school nurse out of regular school hours and will have the opportunity to meet with them at evenings and weekends to collect the pill.

The scheme has been positively received by teenage pregnancy charity Straight Talking. Their chief executive Hilary Pannack said, “I think it’s an excellent idea. But there needs to be more in place — there needs to be
good quality sex and relationship education as well.

“Some girls won’t want to talk to people face to face, and the process of getting the emergency contraceptive pill should be made easy for them. It’s not going to cause promiscuity. If it means them not going  through the trauma of abortion, then it’s valuable.”

The Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire PCT together said,  “This service would provide an extra level of support for those young people who think they have taken a risk, or have another health problem,
and don’t want to approach a doctor or a pharmacist but can text a nurse and ask what they can do.”

A spokesman for the council went on to say, “It is not that the schools involved have high conception rates but rather that they sit in wards that have been shown to have persistently high teenage conception rates.”

However, director of the Family Education Trust, Norman Wells, stated that the PCT were “sadly mistaken” in its hope to decrease the number of teenagers falling pregnant. “International research evidence shows that making the morning-after pill more readily available doesn’t make the slightest difference to unintended pregnancy and abortion rates,” he said. “In fact, there is evidence that making the morning-after pill available to under-age girls in strict confidence may be making matters worse by encouraging some girls to become sexually active when they might not otherwise have done so.”

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