Letter from Shawforth:contraception for 13 year-old children

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Discussion, Political, Society, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Listening to my usual radio station in the car this morning, having just dropped my children off at school, there came a discussion about the National Health Service (NHS) providing thirteen year-old girls contraception without their parents knowledge, let alone consent.

An interesting debate.

It is important to remember that at 13 years-old our children are starting to develop and are still, without being disrespectful, children.

The promotion of contraception, particularly implantable, encouraged by our Government and supported in action by the NHS.

The literature appears to discuss issues with the use of implantable contraceptive devices in adults and not children.

My main point to raise is that in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales the age at which it is legal to have sex is 16 years; also referred to as the age of consent. I believe this is an important point to raise. It is my opinion that any agency involved in the promotion, implicit or explicit, of sexual intercourse in under 16 year-old children are morally and ethically questionable; moreover, considered culpable in their act of promoting a breach in the law.

The discussion on the radio included a little on how it is acceptable for health-care practitioners to prescribe and implant contraceptive devices with the consent of the 13 year-old child: without any formal involvement of the child’s parents; using “Gillick Competency and Fraser Guidelines” by health professionals. If the child meets the criteria laid down in the these standards, the child is capable of giving consent to treatment; and for the healthcare professional to provide the treatment without the involvement of the parent or guardian.

However, what was not discussed was the fact that in England the current age of criminal responsibility, that is the age at which a child becomes criminally responsible for their actions, is 10 years-old. So are these children aware of the fact that they are breaking the law and consequences of their actions?

The moral and ethical debate surrounding this subject is immense. I am of the opinion that the Government in the stance it has taken on sex education, and the use of contraceptive devices in our children has exacerbated an issue that has been with us since time immemorial. This is not a remedy.

The Fraser Guidelines have simply provided a “get out of jail free” card for healthcare professionals in promoting the Government drive in the use of implantable contraceptive devices; to whose advantage? Not our children’s.

It is the parents responsibility to educate and raise children, not the states.

I do acknowledge that not all parents have the skills to raise and educate their children and in this instance society, as a whole, has a role to play in helping.


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