A shock study found that family doctors are handing out the Pill to about 75,000 girls under 16 every year – a jump of 50 per cent in a decade.
Worryingly, parents are unlikely ever to find out because health workers do not have to inform them when they provide contraception to a minor.
Last night, senior Conservative MP Bob Neill called the figures ‘deeply shocking’ and said the practice was ‘destroying’ the childhood of young girls and ‘undermining responsible parents’.
It came as family campaigners and doctors warned:
- The total number of underage girls – including 12-year-olds – using the oral contraceptive is likely to be even higher because sexual health clinics and school nurses are also able to prescribe it;
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are soaring as teenagers on the Pill increasingly feel they can dispense with condoms and engage in riskier sexual behaviour;
- Underage sex is slowly being normalised and legalised – even though it is still against the law.
- There is not enough information about the long-term health risks for teenagers on the Pill – something the study’s authors also highlight.