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Three in four parents against teen contraception

THREE QUARTERS of Irish adults are opposed to giving contraception to teenagers as young as 14 without parental consent.

The statistic compiled by RED C poll shows vehement opposition among adults to a report by the Law Reform Commission suggesting that 14- and 15-year-olds could have access to contraception.

In its report, the Law Reform Commission said doctors would be required to encourage the child to inform his or her parents or guardians, consider the best interests of the patient and the very real public health concerns.

The RED C telephone poll questioned 1,000 Irish adults on their reaction to the report and 77pc were opposed to giving contraception to 14- and 15-year-olds without parental consent.

Only 20pc of adults questioned supported the move while 2pc declined to answer or said they did not know.

The results of the poll were announced yesterday at the Iona Institute in Dublin, an institute that promotes the place of marriage and religion in society.

To coincide with the release of the figures, the institute also hosted a talk given by Professor David Paton of Nottingham University, an expert on the economics of teenage pregnancy.

He explained that Ireland is dealing with the issue a lot more efficiently than England despite the fact that the policy in England is to prescribe contraception to teenagers in this age group.

He said that teenage pregnancies were very low when compared to our neighbours across the Irish Sea.

Professor Paton speaking at the conference warned that Ireland should not change policy when existing guidelines are working so well.

"The low pregnancy rate among minors in Ireland is so striking that caution is surely warranted before making significant change to the legal position surrounding access to contraception for minors," he said.

Evidence from peer-reviewed literature on the impact of increased access to family planning on contraception rates among minors was not encouraging.