Pitfalls of The Teen Morning After Pill -

Pitfalls of The Teen Morning After Pill

morning after pill

The sale of the morning after pill to girls under sixteen should be universally celebrated. It is taken ‘just in case’ after unprotected sex. This provides girls with the kindest method of control over their reproductive rights. It is guilt free because the girl may not even be pregnant when the pill is taken. There have always been girls under the age of 16 who have had sex. The pitfalls are not in the age at which it is available, the £35 cost or the cocktail of chemicals in the pills, they’re a last resort. The pitfalls rest in stigmatization and male pressure.

looking down one's nose Although pharmacists are not obliged to sell the contraception to girls they do have to ask if the girl understands the implications of emergency contraception. This question has little value considering why she is there in the first place. They also have to ask if the girl is willing to tell her parents that she has had unprotected sex, or if she would be willing for someone else to tell them. If this is not humiliating enough, imagine if the pharmacist also has a disapproving look.

I love stigmatising

Practising sex safe is something adults get wrong more than young people 1 but that will not stop some adults from casting aspersions. If that attitude is coming from the pharmacist then girls may not use the service at all and that will have far greater consequences.

The availability of emergency contraception will lead to girls being encouraged to ‘throw caution to the wind’ and have unprotected sex. Females still look to males for approval after all. This will have the unintended consequence of increasing the risk of STIs.2 The Health Protection Agency figures in England showed that young people accounted for more than half of all newly diagnosed STIs. Girls are at risk even if they only have unprotected sex once.

It is so important that this service is available for girls. However, for this to really work the service needs to be available in schools, where it can be dispensed free of charge in a safe non-judgmental environment. Alongside a curriculum that lifts the self-esteem of girls. This way the humiliating and sensitive barriers are removed and a girl’s amour propre can be reinforced.


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Show 2 footnotes

  1. The majority of unplanned pregnancies, occur in women aged 20-34 years – Wellcome Trust 2013.
  2. Sexually Transmitted Infections.


  • I was listening to your show today for the first time and I was interested in your comments about the morning after pill and whether or not parents should be informed. I am a parent and I understand that we live in a sexulised society. I understand that. However, as a parent I am responsible for their well being. Normally, whist my children are under the age of 16 I am required to accompany them when they visit the doctors, dentist etc. If they are injured especially while they are at home, I am made responsible, by the question the doctors might ask. I and many parents that I speak to, do speak to our children about sexual health. It is not like how it was when we were children, as parents we have become more open. I do not believe that it is right for the school to take that responsibility regarding sexual health. However, parents should be given a choice. For those of us who do speak to our children, allow us to do this. For those parents who find this difficult, maybe there could be workshops open to them that could give hints and tips on how to tackle this subject with your child. Also as a parent if my child find themselves in the situation I would want to know, because I will be the best person to help and see them through this. Not a stranger. I am showing you a point of view that I can share with other people. I am really not interested what you think or your view on this matter. Just like you, my back is broad.

    • Hey Angela,

      The show, like the article asked the question whether the morning ‘morning after pill’ should be available in schools.

      Clearly what I said was interesting enough for you to post a comment and I thank you for that.

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