Mary Kenny: Blurring barrier between child abuse and consent
In yet another attempt to curb Britain's alarming rate of young teenage pregnancy, a group of nine schools in Southampton is now providing 13-year-old girls with "secret" contraceptive implants. That is to say, the implants -- which give contraceptive protection for three years -- are offered to the pupils without their parents' consent, although the schoolgirls may choose to inform their parents.
The practice may be more widespread throughout England and Wales than is as yet acknowledged; but the Southampton schools were among the first to offer sexual advice clinics for young teenage girls.
One 13-year-old schoolgirl who has spoken about the procedure says she is very pleased she made the decision. She "wanted to have sex," she said, and "the implant works well and I think it is a good service. I think it has really helped me because if I am with my boyfriend and we feel like having sex, I have the peace of mind of knowing that I am okay." She has since told her mother, who praised her daughter for her "adult" decision.