Morning after pill may be made free to children as young as 12 in Taranaki

Pharmacies are being targeted to provide the emergency contraceptive pill, commonly known as the morning after pill, to Taranaki youth aged between 12 and 24, as part of the development of Taranaki’s Taiohi (youth) health strategy.

District health board portfolio manager Jenny James said the teenage birth, termination of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection rates are higher than many other parts of the country.

Ways to combat these alarming statistics as set out in the strategy are providing the morning after pill for free at pharmacies, reducing the costs of contraception at general practices and encouraging and educating youth about healthy sexuality.

The strategy was accepted by a Taranaki District Health Board sub-committee yesterday and will go to the board in February for final approval.

National director of Family First Bob McCoskrie has called the idea morally bankrupt and medically flawed.

“Sexually active teens need parental involvement – not emergency contraception – and the Health Board should not be handing out contraception like lollies.

“What we should be asking is, why are children as young as 12 sexually active, what messages are teens receiving about sexual involvement, and what role are the parents playing?”

McCoskrie says Research has consistently shown that increased access to emergency contraception does not result in lower pregnancy rates among adolescents and young adults, but can be associated with an increased incidence of sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections.


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News category: New Zealand.

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