A pilot plan to make the contraceptive Pill available in UK drug stores, with only a chat with the pharmacist as a prerequisite, will be tested in areas of London with the highest teenage pregnancy rates to see if the effort will reduce the skyrocketing incidence of unintended pregnancies in girls in their mid-teens.The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe.
The pilot programs will be carried out in the Lambeth and Southwark areas of London, which have pregnancy rates roughly double that of the national average of 40 girls out of every 1,000 aged between 15 and 17.
The program will see pharmacists being issued “group patient directions” which will describe eligibility for the drug. The pharmacists can then dispense the medication to anyone fulfilling those criteria.
The Telegraph reports that the pilot project will cost £26.8m in 2008/09.
Critics of the plan are concerned that relying on the Pill will not cut down on unplanned pregnancy and that the Pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases which are also at epidemic proportions.
Dr. Trevor Stammers, a GP and trustee of the Family Education Trust, said in a UK Telegraph report that the government was “desperate to be seen to be doing something” about teenage pregnancies but said “lack of availability of contraception is not the problem,” adding that the move could in fact encourage under-age sex by making it easier for under-16s to get contraception without their parents’ knowledge.
Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: “Some of the drugs involved with contraception are not without side effects and I would be worried about making them available outside the care of a GP.”
Prof. Steven Field, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners told the Telegraph he had reservations about the plan.
“I would feel more comfortable if the GP initiated the use of the Pill and then worked with the pharmacist to issue repeat prescriptions. It is more complex than handing out a sugar pill. You need to take a good medical history of blood clots and migraine which is not easy.”
The availability of the contraceptive pill without a doctor’s prescription will put it on the same footing as the abortifacient “morning after pill,” which can already be bought from pharmacists without the need for a prescription, and is distributed by some UK school districts free to girls as young as 11.
Though numerous studies have shown that teenage pregnancy rates are not reduced by easier availability of condoms, pills or sex education, the UK government seems bent on following the advice of prominent pro-abortion “family planning experts.”
A 2002 study by University of Nottingham professor Dr. David Paton, a leading expert on teenage fertility, suggested that candid sex education and the availability of the morning after pill actually increase promiscuous sex.
The study confirmed the findings of studies conducted in 1999 and 2000 which found that use of family planning information did not lead to a decrease in unwanted pregnancies, and found that young people who were given the morning-after pill were much more likely to have abortions. (See: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2002/mar/02031803.html)
A survey conducted in 2005 revealed that teenage pregnancy rates are highest in areas that have been most aggressive in promoting sex education. The report revealed that explicit sex education and providing condoms to young girls simply encourages them to become sexually active.
In similar news, the Telegraph reports that condoms are now being offered to schoolchildren as young as 13 in Manchester, where the City Council says the pregnancy rate for girls aged 17 or under is also twice the national average.