Tuesday August 3, 2010

1000 UK Girls Under 12 Prescribed Hormonal Contraceptives Last Year

“Most” without parental consent

By Hilary White

LONDON, August 3, 2010 ( – The General Practice Research Database, a body of the UK’s Department of Health, has released figures showing that more than 1,000 preteen girls across the country were prescribed hormonal contraceptives last year. The issue has raised questions about the effectiveness of age of consent laws in a country where children as young as 11 can legally be given contraceptives without parental knowledge or consent and are taught in schools how to obtain them.

The figures show that in 2009 long-term implanted or injected contraceptive devices such as Norplant were given to another 200 aged between 11 and 13, at the expense of the National Health Service.

Last month a study by Ofsted, the body that inspects schools warned that parents are “rarely” consulted about their children’s lessons involving sex education.

John Smeaton, the head of Britain’s leading pro-life organization, told, “This is the result in great measure of government policies which are actively reaching out to capture young people and to get them on to hormonal contraception.”

Dr. Trevor Stammers, a GP and chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship, expressed similar views, saying, “These figures illustrate the fact that the UK is facilitating the secularization of young people at an ever younger age.”

“If sex education is introduced in primary schools in the way being proposed, we will see many more eleven-year-olds seeking contraception and if we pay GPs to give out contraception without pointing out the risks … we are going to make matters worse.”

But Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), says he lays the blame squarely in the lap of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, who have strongly supported the government’s sex education programs. Smeaton told LSN in an interview that in his view the bishops’ accommodationist policies have given the government the necessary stamp of moral approval to push the contraceptive culture.

“Thus the greatest ready-made body of opposing opinion within England and Wales, [the Catholic Church] is totally subverted by the official guardians of that body of opinion, the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

“The greatest moral authority on earth is being undermined by them so I’m not at all surprised by these figures.”

Asked whether in increasingly anti-Catholic Britain it makes a great political difference if the Catholic bishops support or oppose government policies, Smeaton said, “It would make a huge difference. There’s no question whatever if the Catholic bishops were to adopt an unequivocal position on the life issues, it would make a huge difference.”

He cited the case of Cardinal Keith O’ Brien who spoke out thunderously against the government’s proposed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, saying there is no doubt that O’Brien’s intervention stalled the progress of the bill.

O’Brien, Smeaton said, “speaks up on life issues, in clear, ringing terms. About the impact of government policies, on the iniquity of proposals to widen the abortion law. Whenever he speaks out, O’Brien gets headline news up and down the country. It’s commented upon by all the media.”

British politicians, he said, have “an instinctive awareness” that once mobilized and united under strong moral leadership, the Catholic vote would make a difference in British politics. “And there’s something written on human hearts which draws people to the truth,” he added.

Even with the current leadership in the Church and the government, Smeaton continued, pro-life advocates have succeeded in preventing the abortion law from being extended into Northern Ireland. “The pro-life voice has been heard, but we’re being completely undermined by the official policy of the bishops of England and Wales. Particularly in the case of getting hormonal contraceptives to young people without parental consent.”

In April, the Catholic Education Service (CES), an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, appointed former Labour MP Greg Pope as deputy director. Pope’s lengthy pro-contraception and anti-family parliamentary record includes multiple endorsements of international abortionist agencies such as Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes. Significantly, in 2007, Pope voted against a bill which would have required parental consent for provision of contraception or abortion to children under 16.

Smeaton said that Pope’s position was well known and “reflects the policy of the bishops of England and Wales.”