Posted by Condom Depot on 05/14/2004
NEWS that a 14-year-old girl from Mansfield had been allowed by advisers at her school to have a secret abortion without her mother's knowledge made national headlines last week. Today the Daily Post has revealed that Condom Solutions, a Cheshire-based company, wants to put condom machines into schools to try to destigmatise contraception for the young.
Chris Brown On Teenage Sex Education And Contraception -
SOURCE - MAY 14th 2004 - LIVERPOOL DAILY POST - UNITED KINGDOM
NEWS that a 14-year-old girl from Mansfield had been allowed by advisers at her school to have a secret abortion without her mother's knowledge made national headlines last week.
Today the Daily Post has revealed that Condom Solutions, a Cheshire-based company, wants to put condom machines into schools to try to destigmatise contraception for the young.
The idea of schoolchildren having sex is understandably a particularly sensitive one.
Some argue that children will always experiment sexually and it is therefore best to prepare them as much as possible - including practical measures such as increasing the availability of contraception.
But many others would find the idea of having condom machines in schools a step too far, encouraging children into sexual activity before they are ready.
We live in a highly sexualised world. Television, magazines and newspapers all know that sex sells, leading to an environment which can be confusing for youngsters growing up. That is not even to mention the growing influence of the internet.
It can be argued that the classroom is the place where values and morality should be taught and admitting defeat on underage sex is not the way to go.
But sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase once again and it is the school's job to protect their students as best they can.
Shouldn't young people be given the best possible chance to act responsibly and take their own precautions?
The sex education debate has been running for decades and the availability of condoms in schools appears to be the latest chapter in a story which will run and run.
WHEN the Government introduced its teenage pregnancy strategy, it pledged to halve conceptions among girls under 18 by 2010. The provision of birth control to young people is a main plank of this strategy.
However, since the strategy was launched in 2000, there has been no significant change in the trend, and teenage pregnancy rates remain higher than 10 years ago.
Provisional government statistics suggest that the number of under-18s who became pregnant in England and Wales rose by 2.2% between 2001 and 2002.
The Family Education Trust has found conception rates rose steeply in areas where contraception and confidential advice were given to underage teenagers without parents' consent. Many teenage girls who become pregnant are pressured to have an abortion. As we heard recently, it is even possible for schools to facilitate an abortion for a girl without even involving her parents.
Incidentally, while we sympathise with the mother who only found out about her daughter's abortion after the event, we are not saying that abortions on minors should proceed if parents give consent. We would, rather, want to prevent abortion from happening at all.
Resources should be used to help girls and women with unwanted pregnancies to give birth.
Dr David Paton of the University of Nottingham Business School has calculated that one tenth of new sexually transmitted infections are linked to an increase in contraception and abortion services for teenagers.
Sexual infections among teenagers increased by around 15% between 1999 and 2001. Over the same period, the number of adolescent family planning clinic sessions rose by more than 23%.
In one inner city area where the number of teenage family planning clinic sessions increased by 81%, diagnosis of sexually transmitted disease rose by 70%. In another area where there was no increase in family planning sessions, the number of diagnoses fell.
Many of our members will be concerned at the ethical and psychological implications of giving birth control to schoolchildren. However, as a pro-life group, we have a particular concern about the effects of what may be given out.
Some substances and devices described as contraception can cause abortion. Intra-uterine devices can prevent the implantation of young embryos, as can morning-after pills.
A dose of such pills is equivalent to 50 conventional birth control pills. Morning-after pills do not always prevent conception and the hormones in them can affect the lining of the womb so that it becomes a hostile place for new human life. Such pills do not stop sexually transmitted disease.
School is a place for education, and parents trust school governors and staff to protect their children's interests. Giving pupils birth control, particularly the sort which causes abortion, is a serious breach of parental trust.
LAST week has highlighted an alltoo familiar story over the whole of the UK whereby a girl of 14 fell pregnant by having unprotected sex with a boy of 13.
We as an adult population have to ensure that we equip the youth of Britain with all the tools necessary to have a full and prosperous life and take advantage of all opportunities offered them.
It is a shame that the school nurse who handed out the advice regarding the abortion couldn't have handed out condoms a few months before, which would have alleviated all the heart-ache.
The teaching of sexual health needs to be a holistic one, centred around accessibility; mental through factual information, education and communication and physical by having easy access to high quality condoms.
In society at this moment young people are bombarded every day with stories of sex and sexuality in newspapers and soap operas (just think for a minute about the storylines in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and East Enders).
There is no getting away from the fact that at some stage many teenagers will contemplate having sex (we know many already are doing it) and it is at this point they must be armed to ensure they act responsibly.
This is why it is imperative that contraception information and products should be made available where young people spend the most time. From the ages of 13 to 16 it happens to be school.
In the USA in 2002, a study was carried out on the impact of condom distribution in schools. The study of 4,100 students in 59 high schools showed no increase in sexual activity, just an increase in condom usage for sexually active students.
One thing that should be said is that where possible the ABC strategy must be supported and encouraged.
A is for Abstinence before entering into a stable and loving long-term relationship; B is for Be faithful to your partner and ensure you know each other's sexual history, also Be aware of the risks involved in the activities you may want to be involved with; and finally C is for always use a condom.
The distribution in schools can be done sensitively and effectively. The concept of selling them is one route, whereby the student can buy them even for a nominal fee, which adds value and increases the likelihood of use.
Then a mechanism can be developed whereby my company would donate money, to support education programmes in that school based on condom sales.
Another route is by giving them for free to students via a consultation process, which ensures the student gets access to information as well as condoms.
With the increase in teenage pregnancy and the increase in sexually transmitted infections it is critical to arm young people with the mental and physical tools to act responsibly. The "out of sight out of mind" attitude employed by certain social quarters does not help anyone, especially the most at-risk group - the children.
In The News,
Other Recent Articles
UNAIDS Official Attempts to Distort Official Catholic Position on Condoms » -
A UN official in charge of AIDS prevention has denied that the Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms. Taking the dissenting views of a small number of commentators as representative of official Catholic policy, he said that there is "hot debate" in the Vatican over the use of condoms.
«Bush & Condoms -
The Bush administration's enlightenment on AIDS treatment has not, alas, been matched in AIDS prevention programs. Spurred by the religious right, the administration and Congress have fenced off one-third of the nation's international AIDS prevention funds to be used for abstinence programs starting in 2006, even though such programs alone are insufficient.