New figures reveal that in Scotland, over 3,500 girls under the age of consent have been given long-term contraception.
According to freedom of information requests highlighted by the Scottish Daily Mail, schoolgirls as young as twelve have had contraceptive devices implanted into their arms.
The figures, taken from five health boards across Scotland, show that in many cases this took place without parental consent.
Information was gathered from health boards in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Grampian, Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire and Borders.
Overall, the boards were found to have given 3,562 prescriptions to girls under 16 since 2010, including 20 prescriptions for twelve-year-olds.
Norman Wells from the Family Education Trust said: “To provide school-girls with long-acting reversible contraception is to play with fire.
“It is effectively giving them a licence to engage in illegal sexual activity and denies them the protection that the law on the age of consent is intended to give”.
Mr Wells stressed that providing contraception to underage girls makes it “more difficult for them to resist sexual pressure from their peers”.
Concerns have also been raised about the safety of the implants and the effects they may have on young girls.
According to the drugs manufacturer MSD, who make the implants, its “safety and efficiency in adolescents under the age of 18 has not been established”.
Side effects of the implants in adult women include nausea, depression, acne and headaches.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “NHS boards and local authorities prioritise sexual health for young people and, as a result, teenage pregnancy rates have fallen for the last four years.
“Whilst we would encourage any young person considering contraception to discuss this with their parent, there is no legal requirement to do so.”
Norman Wells commented: “It is deeply disturbing that parents are frequently left in the dark and know nothing about the high-stakes gamble being taken on the physical and emotional wellbeing of their daughters.”
Earlier this year, research from the University of Aberdeen found that 17,000 twelve to 15-year-old girls were given various forms of contraception along with certain abortifacients – such as the morning-after pill – over a twelve-month period.
Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw thought that the report showed that current sex education is “failing miserably”.