Monday, April 16, 2007

UK Schools Handing Out The Morning After Pill

The Daily Mail reported these items:
More schools will be encouraged to hand out the morning-after pill to underage girls after a strong endorsement of the service from Office For Standards In Education, (Ofsted) inspectors.

Around one in three children already has easy access to condoms and emergency contraception - without their parents' knowledge or consent - thanks to sexual health clinics based at secondary schools.

Many more heads are expected to set up contraception services in their schools.

The education watchdog declared that school nurses "provide a valuable service" distributing contraception and advising pupils on birth control, and providing emergency hormonal contraception and advising on other forms of contraception.. The report said: 'School nurses can arrange visits from their colleagues in the community and work with them to promote health and improve young people's access to health services.'

By 2010, ministers want every secondary school to have access to a nurse providing emergency contraception and advice as part of a drive to reduce the number of teenagers becoming parents. Inspectors complained that progress towards establishing the centres had so far been 'modest' but many extended schools are now providing a good range of services.

Family campaigners warned the initiative may simply encourage promiscuity. They pointed out that more than 20 studies have failed to find a link between better access to the morning-after pill and a fewer teenage pregnancies. They say that Ofsted has swallowed the lie being peddled by the sex education and contraceptive industry that using contraception is the mark of sexual responsibility. No less than 23 studies from ten countries have found that increased access to the morning-after pill actually made no difference to unintended pregnancy and abortion rates, yet Ofsted continues to fly in the face of international evidence.

However, Ofsted seems to disagree:
In its latest report on the state of sex education, Ofsted inspectors said handing out the morning-after pill was more effective at reducing teenage pregnancies than promoting abstinence.

'There is no evidence....that "abstinence- only" education reduces teenage pregnancy or improves sexual health,' their report said.

'There is also no evidence to support claims that teaching about contraception leads to increased sexual activity.'

Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, said school nurses gave children the chance to talk to someone impartial outside the classroom, where they may be embarrassed to ask questions. But she added: "When it comes to things like morning-after pills and condoms there are many parents who will be concerned if they are not informed. The majority will be quite devastated if they suddenly found that their kids were on birth control pills and they didn't know anything about it."

Official figures show pregnancies among under-18s rose in 2005 to 39,683 - up from 39,593 in 2004 and much higher than the 35,400 recorded a decade earlier in 1995.
With the establishment of school health clinics and national control of education creeping its way along in our country, we will not be too far behind with the implementation of these kinds of programs, funded by our tax dollars. School clinics in some places might already give out birth control and abortion referrals. Some states have policy on this and others do not. As it is now, kids cannot and may not buy a coke from a school vending machine in CT, but they can get an abortion without parental consent. Something is definitely wrong with that picture.. it not only throws parents out of the picture completely but also may further enable kids to engage in risky behaviors, because they know they can just as easily abort the "consequence". Many people will say.. well kids will have sex anyway, so let's give them tools to deal with "the consequences" without their parents even knowing. How can the schools enable sex between minors which is also a crime in many states?

Putting the moral and religious issue of abortion aside, I think the minimization and exclusion of parents regarding this issue is reprehensible. Undermining parental authority and consent is just really wrong, in my opinion. Yet, parents are supposed to be held responsible if their kids break the law or go truant from school?? How come parents are responsible in some instances and not allowed to be included in others?

I would think that school boards should be held liable for the results from negligent referrals regarding "sexual health" of a child. What happens if a child is harmed by either referred procedures or school administered medication like the Morning After pill? Schools and taxpayers will naturally be averse to this type of legal and economic liability.

How are kids being taught responsible behavior without parental guidance, and with the easy availability of repeated abortion on demand? and also, has anyone thought about how much money the pharmaceutical companies are raking in by funneling their drugs through government schools in this manner?? It's a whole separate market for them to target!

For me as a parent, it is yet another reason to homeschool our kids, and be able to more directly and effectively deal with our kids without government enabling of bad behavior and without government inserting itself into the picture.

On a positive note, Idaho just signed a parental consent bill - read it here. Under the new law, all unemancipated, unmarried minors must get consent from a parent or guardian before getting an abortion, or get a judge's permission.


Lisa Gieibtz said...

I believe that if more parents educated their kids OPENLY AND HONESTLY about sex, then this wouldn't be such an issue. I've noticed over the years that many parents avoid talking about it almost completely, maybe thinking that if they do talk about it, they may encourage behavior they don't approve of. I think exactly the opposite will happen. If the folks are telling you that sex is a great, natural thing and should be done at an age when you can fully accept all the possible consequences (emotional and physical), then I bet for many that sex will lose its taboo, danger appeal and will seem a less appealing option for asserting control.

Dy said...

More parents DO than ever before. And still, it's an issue. It becomes more of an issue, and the parameters get pushed farther out with every opportunity. And the ones who need to be doing it more, won't, because the government will do it for them. Where's the incentive? Where's the parental responsibility?

Further, how is a parent to respond to any of the complex and varied issues a child may need help in addressing (ranging from depression, to communicable diseases, to PASS, to self-image issues or worse...) if the parent is left out of the loop? How will you know that your daughter may be suffering after her third abortion of the year, if you have no idea she's had abortions? Why do the many need to be punished because of the few? And how is it in any way ethical to mandate that via governmental oversight?

I have to laugh when the experts claim that there's no evidence that the "abstinence-only" approach works. When was the last time it was used? I can vouch that in the mid-1980's, you couldn't find it even in the conservative, small towns (the very ones that are considered "backward" in social programs). The reproductive portion of health classes began with, "The only way to avoid pregnancies and STD's 100% is abstinence. HOWEVER..." and the rest of the semester dealt with ways to get around that loophole.

It's been talked to death. And pregnancy rates among teens aren't dissipating. Abortion rates aren't dropping. Asolescent promiscuity isn't waivering. Unless this was the plan, it's becoming quite clear that the plan isn't working.


Colin Urban said...

This is a sensitive subject, far more than truancy or otherwise. The addition of sex into the equation adds a completely new element. I can think of plenty of examples in which it would be in the student's best interest to keep sexual activity from their parents. One notable example would be a fundamentalist religious family in which any child from the resulting pregnancy would be shunned along with the child's mother, forcing both into a hard position as social pariahs.

Personally I would rather give students the ability to decide what happens in their body without pressure from parents who's motives may not always be the child's well-being.

Anonymous said...

Colin - It is not likely that a child from a fundamentalist religious family would be having premarital sex in the first place.

Kids might be afraid of confessing to their parents about having sex or being pregnant - and afraid of accepting the consequences,(maybe they would get angry, etc.) but that is no reason for the parents to not be informed about their minor child's access to birth control or abortion. After all whose kids are they in the first place? certainly not the school's. Parents ultimately have to care for the consequences if the abortion goes wrong or if the contraception doesn't work, or makes the girl sick.

If there were an instance that the child would expect to be beaten or abused as a result of her telling her parents, there are certainly enough mandated reporters in school that she could go tell.

Basically young students are not capable (emotionally or intellectually) of making those decisions on their own and the school certainly does not have the legal authority to give them permission or guidance to take birth control or have an abortion.

Pressure from their parents is exactly what kids need, that's what parents do. I pray that you are never in a position of finding out that your daughter had an abortion, or was given medication by her school, without your knowing.

Anonymous said...

The article you quoted is from The Daily Mail. I take it you are aware that the Mail is not a 'real' news source, but a right-wing propaganda sheet?

Your story, spurious as it is, would seem a tad more credible if you had proper sources to back it up.

Marcin said...

Man, I hate it when the state helps children avoid pregnancy.

Even if there is no evidence that on aggregate availability of the morning after pill reduces teenage pregnancies, the medical evidence is that when a girl takes a morning after pill, she is unlikely to get pregnant.

Do you care about individuals, or do you care about aggregate statistics? Or do you really care about keeping women in the home, and people in ignorance?

Judy Aron said...


Man I hate it when people want to remove parents from the picture of raising their own kids.

I care about children and parents. In the US our courts have determined that it is the child's parents who are in charge of their children's health.. not the school and not the state.

Don't be so quick to think I desire women to be barefoot and pregnant in the home. You don't even know me and are making wild assumptions here. I was a career woman and worked in corporate America before having kids and deciding to stay home to raise them myself instead of farming them out for strangers to raise.

What I believe is that the state and their school system needs to concentrate on teaching children to read, write and do arithmetic instead of teaching them to have have sex and then have abortions. In your opinion it looks like you'd have every girl receive the pill whether it helps or not. That is just sick. What if the pill has some bad side effect? Who will take the responsibility then? Certainly not the state or the school nurse! If school referred abortion goes wrong, who will pay the consequences for that? YOU? I doubt it.

I suppose you are one of those people who wouldn't mind if you child gets sex and medical advice from strangers and third parties. I suppose you wouldn't mind if your daughter got an abortion or medication without your knowledge. Frankly, my kids are mine, and what goes into their body in terms of medication is fully my responsibility.

It seems you care very little about parents and families, and more about placing the rearing of children with the state and with government schools. Why not just take the kids away from the parents when they are born all together, especially since you think the state and government seem to do such a bang up better job of raising them? I guess the proof to that is with all the sex education provided by schools our pregnancy rates have skyrocketed. Now to combat that they have to hand out abortion medication. Brilliant.

That is a very sad commentary indeed.