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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Morning-after pill plan criticised
Emergency contraception
The morning after pill will be offered to girls aged 12
A scheme that will offer the morning-after pill to girls as young as12 has been condemned as "criminal" by a pro-life group.

The pilot project, run from a youth centre in Derby, will be run by nurses rather than doctors.

Nuala Scarisbrick, of the anti-abortion group Life, said it would encourage under-age sex.

But Dr Jackie Abrahams, head of family planning for Southern Derbyshire Health Authority, hoped the service would cut unwanted pregnancies.

The scheme plans to cut teenage pregnancies
Mrs Scarisbrick said: "This is criminal.

"Apart from aiding and abetting under age sex it is encouraging girls to have sex when they don't know what the consequences are.

"Girls risk being permanently damaged by this very strong drug.

"All the statistics show that providing the morning after pill doesn't reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies."

'Sexually active'

The weekly clinics aim to give support and advice to young parents as well as offering the morning-after pill to girls as young as 12.

Dr Abrahams said: "Young people are not becoming sexually active because we are providing the morning-after pill they are sexually active before they come to us.

"Hopefully this will prevent some unwanted pregnancies because there are an awful lot of them.

"This is part of a process of providing better access to services across the area."

See also:

22 Mar 01 | Health
Drop in teenage pregnancies
08 Mar 01 | Health
Contraception fails UK youth
16 Jul 01 | Health
Teenage myths about contraception
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