Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: âThere is evidence that supplying emergency birth control to girls and young women without charge and behind the backs of their parents is proving counter-productive...It is all part of a mix encouraging them to take a more casual attitude to sex and exposing them to increased risk of sexually transmitted infections and emotional harm."
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's programme PM Nadine Dorries said she was very supportive of the morning after pill being easily accessible to young women "I've often said it should be available at high street chemists for free...that school nurses should be able to have a supply to be able to give out to girls who need it...what I'm opposed to is the idea that they could 'stock up'...the morning after pill at home and the reason for that is I'm very concerned about, that young girls that have the ability to protect themselves and I think that if they have access to these tablets at home as they want them and whenever they need them they may be used as a form of contraception which would expose them...to sexually transmitted diseases."
Of course the chief concern should be that while the morning after pill protects against unwanted pregnancy (usually) it does not protect against STDs. It is not a Get Out of Jail Free card and teenagers need to be aware that if they have unprotected sex that they must be prepared to visit a GUM clinic. Good grief adults need to be aware of that and many aren't.
I think we forget how much sex is a total mystery to most teens.
Just as in all subjects and...activities for all those that don't there are those that do. Dorries however thinks when it comes to teen sex there are those that do and they are unreachable. You know. Those girls. "I'm not actually sure that having the morning after pill at home in numbers would actually prevent pregnancy because I'm not actually sure that the kind of behaviour where young girls do become pregnant when they don't want to...correlates with the type of person who would have the morning after pill at home in advance."
Before you think Dorries is writing off all disorganised teen girls without a filofax she says she would like to see more strategic sex education. Writing in the Telegraph Brooke Magnanti points out that: "this country still needs better and more holistic sex and relationships education that focuses on respect and consent, taught by people who are trained and interested in talking to young people about the topic. It needs to address not only the biology and mechanics of sex, but also of love and healthy relationships."
It is peculiar to me that Magnanti is one of the few people writing about this subject who has pointed out what the morning after pill is. A massive dose of hormones that has side effects ranging from nausea to disrupted periods. This is something to be concerned about. Instead in the Daily Mail Kathy Gyngell, citing her dentist as The Voice of the People somehow links giving teens greater access to contraception to a 'schizophrenic' attitude towards sex. Implying that you cannot punish paedophilia while providing the underage with contraception. Ignoring the fact that sexually active teenagers are usually sexually active with other teenagers.
What we need to do is to equip young people to make the right decisions. And accept that perhaps that for them this is to become 'sexually active'. When we say 'it's your body to look after' we have to mean it. In which case let's make sure they make an informed decision and they are protected whatever they choose.