First UK school surgery will give condoms to under 16s

The first school GP surgery in the UK is set to open its doors, it has been revealed.

Pupils at Sir Henry Cooper School in Hull would be offered advice on “sexual health and family planning”, under the controversial move.

And the doctor behind the idea has told a local paper the service would combat obesity and “a high rate of teenage pregnancies” in the area.

Convenient

Dr Mike Holmes of the Haxby Group of GPs in Hull said that the idea behind the scheme was that young people would be much more likely to seek medical advice if it was “convenient for them”.

He said that the plan was subject to approval from the school’s management, governors and parents.

The high instances of teenage pregnancy and heart disease in the area, he felt, “needed to be tackled as early in life as possible.”

Age of consent

“We would prescribe contraception”, said the doctor, “but only after consultation with the school, governors and parents.”

But the move threatens to undermine the age of consent law: for the vast majority of pupils at the school of 11 to 16 year olds, sexual intercourse is illegal.

The age of consent was raised to 16 during the Victorian era because girls as young as twelve were being sold into the sex trade.

The age stands at 16 thanks to the efforts of Christian campaigner, Josephine Butler, who fought to protect girls and prostitutes from liberal laws.

Consequences

Speaking on the subject last year, Tim Loughton MP, who is now Minister for Children and Young People, questioned why there were no legal consequences for children who break the law by engaging in underage sex.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, he said: “How many kids get prosecuted for having underage sex? Virtually none.

“Where are the consequences of breaking the law and having irresponsible underage sex? There aren’t any.”

Tougher

And when asked if he was advocating more prosecutions for underage sex, Mr Loughton replied: “We need to be tougher.

“Without sounding horribly judgmental, it is not a good idea to be a mum at 14. You are too young, throwing away your childhood and prospects of developing a career.”

But Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, dismissed the idea as “abhorrent”.

Protect children

She said: “It’s widely recognised and accepted that young people are having sex at an earlier age. The notion of criminalising that activity, and in particular criminalising motherhood at any age, is abhorrent.”

This claim was refuted by Patricia Morgan, sociologist and author, who said: “The age of consent is there to protect children up to a certain age because they can’t necessarily judge things for themselves.”

She added: “I agree with Tim Loughton that we should be sending a message out. There should be more prosecutions.”

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