In the past two years thousands of teenage girls across the United Kingdom — some as young as 13 — have been given contraceptive injections or implants without their parents’ knowledge or consent, according to National Health Service (NHS) data obtained by the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper obtained the data from NHS trusts (regional healthcare authorities) via Freedom of Information laws.
The data reveal that school nurses have given over 900 contraceptive implants or injections to girls between the ages of 13 and 16, with more than 20 of those going specifically to 13-year-olds. In addition, 7,400 girls aged 15 and under have been given implants or injections at family planning clinics.
The implants, inserted into girls’ arms, release hormones into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The injections are effective for no more than three months.
The Telegraph undertook its investigation after reporting earlier this year that schools in Southampton had been fitting young girls with contraceptive implants without their parents’ knowledge. At that time the paper believed that “the practice [was] widespread after ministers ordered councils to spend money on offering implants and other long-acting contraceptives three years ago.”
The investigation revealed that schools in at least six regions are indeed providing contraceptive implants and injections to teenage girls without so much as a by-your-leave for their parents.
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