The bell has already rung on teenage pregnancy and there is no way in which we can un-ring it, what we can do is create information and resources to prevent this becoming an epidemic and therefore you can understand my frustration when there is a headline in the news stating “Anger over ‘depraved’ contraceptive pill program for 13-year-old UK girls”.
What part of UK having the largest teen pregnancy in Europe of which the under 16, conception rate has increased from 7.8 per 1000 to 8.3 that meant that there were an added 8,200 pregnancies of under 16 years old, that is not understood. This should make us concerned enough to do something about this trend and if the Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust believe that prescribing contraceptive pills to 13 years old will help reduce teenage pregnancy, then why are we so alarmed.
Individuals like Parish priest Father Anthony Glaysher described the program as “depraved,” adding it would encourage promiscuity. This is rich coming from the church, he seems to forget that this is the 21st century and the young people today have more information at their finger-tips than was available to the women from his generation.
As a parent I cannot stop my daughter from getting into sexual encounters, I can tell her the pit-falls, I can educate her to what having an unwanted pregnancy would do to her future, I can educate her about peer pressure, and hope that she will not make the mistake that so many have made, but if she decided against my advice then no parents can be behind their children every waking minute of the day especially teenagers.
I would have no problems if contraceptive was given to my daughter without my permission having recognised that teenagers today are completely different than teenagers 10 – 20 years ago. If as parents we fail to make this distinction we are only exposing our children to the very thing that we are trying to prevent them from getting into and when you read the stats on the number of under 16 pregnancy it is enough to make you welcome any system that Health Care authority may put in place to prevent teenage pregnancy getting further out of hand.
Using words like ‘depraved’ and promiscuity and describing the health care provider as being “irresponsible”, is totally unfair, what century does these individuals that are throwing these words around live in. We live in an environment that has one of the biggest super highway of information that there is, the Internet have revolutionise the way information is provided so it is easier for teenager to acquire virtually any information that they wish. Therefore it is unfair for anyone to be throwing insults at these authorities that have clearly recognise that there is a problem and trying to find a solution to tackle same.
I do not want to wait until these children became pregnant then having them been put through the trauma of an abortion, so if they are going to be sexually active at these ages, then I would much rather that they are prescribe contraceptive, because prevention is better than cure aytime.
Let us not close the gate after the horse as already gone through, let us support the authority in their endeavours to cut teen pregnancy and stop burying our heads in the sand and constantly criticise, after all this is the 21st century and we cannot turn back the clock to the dark ages.
Progress comes with certain amount of responsibilities and as such we have to make the hard decisions that most individuals shy away from and I credit the authority in making this controversial decision knowing that they were going to be hang drawn and quartered in the media.
However, I was a midwife for 28 years (retired now), so until you have witness a child of twelve giving birth and trauma on her fragile body then these individuals that are talking about depravity of prescribing contraception to 13 year old should say nothing.