June 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Officials in England are defending the actions of school staff who helped a teenage girl get an abortion behind her parent’s back.

The 15-year-old, who attends school in Salford, Greater Manchester, reportedly asked that the school be notified rather than her parents when she confirmed her pregnancy at a hospital.

According to the Manchester Evening News, staff at the school made sure she was “comfortable” with her decision to have an abortion and “supported her” when she went for the procedure. She was given time off school in order to have the procedure done during the school day.

The girl told her parents about the abortion after it was completed.

The school has not commented on the situation. John Merry, assistant mayor for services for children and young people at Salford council, defended the staff’s actions in comments to the Manchester Evening News.

“There are very clear and stringent national guidelines for schools to follow in these situations,” Merry said. “These guidelines are there in the best interests of the child and were followed correctly in these circumstances.”

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According to the UK’s controversial 2004 guidelines, a 1986 law allowing minors to be prescribed contraceptives without parental knowledge implicitly extends to abortion services as well. The policy was unsuccessfully challenged in court by the mother of two teenage daughters, one of whom was pregnant.

Commenting on the case, Michaela Aston, a teacher and spokeswoman for the pro-life charity LIFE, noted that parental consent is required before a school can give a child something as simple as Aspirin.

“Why should a procedure that is much more serious be done in secret? The school is being complicit in covering up and indeed contributing to a major, controversial and potentially damaging event in the life of someone’s daughter,” she said. “When schools collude with the abortion industry, they undermine parents’ rights and help drive a wedge of deceit and distrust between parents and their children. Just because the law may allow for this, does not make it moral or right.”

Aston also commented that returning responsibility for such decisions back to the parents might help reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and abortions in the country.

According to statistics from the UK Department of Health, there were 3,258 abortions performed in the country in 2011 on girls under 16.