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Jon Sopel in Paris
"No prescription needed, no parental discussion and no doctor involved"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 18:38 GMT
French schools offer morning-after pill

School nurses will be able to dispense the pills

The French authorities have decided to allow schoolgirls access to emergency contraception without needing to see a doctor.

School nurses have been given the new responsibility in an attempt to reduce what it calls the "emergency" 10,000 teenage pregnancies in France last year.

Neither a doctor, nor a parent, now has to be consulted.

However, conservative groups have strongly attacked the move, saying it will lead to promiscuity.

Teenage pregnancy rates in France are much lower than those in the UK, where a doctor must be consulted before the morning after pill can be handed out.

Jacques Myard MP, of the Gaullist Party, told the BBC: "Schools have a right to start the process, but they shouldn't go alone without bringing in the role of the parents."

The morning after pill can be taken up to 72 hours after sex has taken place to prevent a pregnancy.

These pupils were supportive of the idea
However, one study has shown that delaying taking it by 12 hours can significantly increase the risk of pregnancy.

Schoolgirls at one French school seemed to think that the easily-available morning-after pill was a good idea.

One told the BBC: "I don't think it protects from any diseases - I think condoms still have to be used."

Another added: "It is better to be able to get the morning after pill than have a child that is not wanted and to have to get an abortion."

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See also:
08 Jan 00 |  Health
Morning-after pill over the counter
29 Nov 99 |  Medical notes
Emergency contraception
02 Sep 99 |  Health
Advance morning-after pills on the NHS
14 Jun 99 |  Health
'Emergency contraception should be easier to get'
07 Jul 99 |  Latest News
Women to get emergency pill

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