Family doctors in Scotland are handing out the morning-after pill and contraception to thousands of schoolgirls as young as twelve, prompting criticism that such provision is increasing underage sex.
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.
But Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said that many girls would “never have embarked” on a sexual relationship under the age of 16, had it not been for the confidential provision of contraception.
“Providing contraception to young teenagers results in yet more underage sex, spiralling rates of sexually transmitted infections and young people carrying emotional baggage into adulthood”, he said.
The study looked into 191 GP practices in Scotland between 2004 and 2009.
Dr Anusha Reddy, who led the research, said: “We know that there is a lot of underage pregnancy and there have been Government strategies put in place to tackle the issue.”
“This study provides important information about that provision. It is obvious people are starting to use contraceptives from the age of 12.”
Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw thinks the report shows that current sex education is “failing miserably”.
Recent Government statistics also found that children as young as twelve are contracting sexually transmitted infections in Scotland.
Figures from Health Protection Scotland showed that more than 400 young people are diagnosed and treated for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis each year.