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Friday, 3 March, 2000, 11:12 GMT
Girls 'shun the Pill'
The Pill
Pill use is falling
Teenage girls are shunning the Pill saying they are scared of possible side effects.

Figures from family planning clinics and the Department of Health confirm a significant decline in the use of the Pill, particularly by women aged under 20.

I don't like the effect the Pill has on your body

One young woman - Laura - told BBC Radio 5 Live that she had taken emergency contraception about 10 times. On the last occasion it failed and she had a termination.

She said: "I don't like the effect the Pill has on your body."

But she would still prefer to do that than take an oral contraceptive on a regular basis.

Brook Advisory Clinics, whose clients are mainly teenagers and young women, say use of the Pill has halved in the last 10 years.

Just a third of women using their services ask for the Pill.

Highest rate

The trend will make it harder for the government to achieve its aim of cutting teenage pregnancies - Britain has the highest rate in western Europe and ministers have pledged to halve pregnancies in the under 18s by 2010.

The government's handling of the 1995 Pill scare, when it was announced third generation Pills could cause an increased risk of blood clots in some women, is thought to be partly to blame for the decrease in use.

Government advice surrounding the scare was reversed last year.

Dr Gillian Van-Hegan, medical spokeswoman for Brook, told the BBC young women tell her they do not want to take the Pill because of its side-effects, but they often request emergency contraception.

Emergency contraceptives contain similar hormones as those used in the Pill, but in larger doses, and are not a long-term alternative to preventative contraception.

Ann Furedi, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said most fears connected to the scare were unwarranted.

The Pill can increase the incidence of blood clots in a small percentage of women. It can slightly increase the risk of breast cancer while it is being taken.

But it is also known to protect against ovarian cancer and cancer of the lining of the womb.

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01 Oct 99 |  Health
Abortion rate jumps
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