UK Government Pushing Contraceptive Jabs and Implants on Teens

Ministers tell councils to push contraceptive jabs and implants

The Telegraph

Girls as young as 13 will be pressed to have contraceptive jabs under Government plans to “urgently” bring down teenage pregnancy rates.

By Julie Henry, Education Correspondent
8:12PM GMT 15 Nov 2008

Ministers have ordered council and health chief executives to increase the uptake of “long-acting” contraception in teen pregnancy “hot spots”.

The government also wants more school-based clinics to administer the jabs, which can make girls infertile for up to three months.

Teenagers can receive the injections or implants without their parents’ knowledge.

Critics warn that the controversial move will promote promiscuity and that injections and implants will not protect against the rampant spread of sexually transmitted disease. Some health experts also say that the drugs are unsuitable for girls who are still growing.

In letters demanding “urgent action to accelerate progress to the 2010 [teenage pregnancy] target”, health and education ministers tell the heads of councils and primary care trusts to establish more “school-based contraception clinics” and bring about “an overall increase in the uptake of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)”.

The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that 21 local authorities where teenage pregnancy rates have stagnated or risen have been singled out and told to push the injections and implants.

The letter to Stoke-on-Trent says: “A key priority over the next six months is the roll-out of school based services and further development of young people’s sexual health services. This needs to include, as a priority, the provision of long-acting contraception to ensure all young people have the choice of effective contraception.”

Stockton-on-Tees is told: “It is essential to use additional contraception funding to improve the provision and uptake of LARC.”

Tameside is asked to ensure that jabs and implants are “targeted at areas with high and increasing rates of teenage pregnancy and repeat abortions”.

Other councils to receive the letters were Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Rotherham, Salford, Torbay, Leeds, Bolton, Southampton, Nottingham, Sheffield, Wigan, Blackpool, Peterborough, and four London boroughs – Croydon, Enfield, Haringey, and Barking and Dagenham.

According to official figures for 2007/8, there are 1,200 girls aged under 15 taking long-acting contraception, as well as 2,900 15-year-olds and 11,500 girls aged 16 or 17.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.