Teens get secret birth control implants

PHOTO: Teens get secret birth control implants

A 13-year-old girl had a contraceptive implant fitted in school without her mother's consent.

She is one of the 33 schoolgirls who had the device fitted in Southampton, England, as part of a controversial programme to reduce teen pregnancies.

Now the girl, who was not named, has come forward and defended her action. She said she acted responsibly by taking steps to stop getting pregnant.

She told the Daily Mail: "I think it has really helped me because if I am with my boyfriend and we feel like having sex, I have peace of mind knowing that I am okay.

"At the time I didn't want to tell my mum because there are some things you don't want to talk to your parents about."

Her mother was horrified when she was told about the device. The mother, who also wasn't named, felt performing even a minor surgery without parents' consent was "morally wrong".

The daughter said: "If I was told I couldn't have the implant unless I told my mum, I probably would have gone away to think about it and would have eventually got my mum involved.

"But I think there should be the option to have full confidentiality because some children just can't speak to their parents."

She understood why her mother was upset and admitted that maybe the surgery shouldn't have been performed in school.

Discussed implant

She added that she spent an hour discussing the issues of an implant with a health expert at the school and was told to speak to her mother.

She was fitted with the Nexplanon device at a meeting a week later and was told she could book a follow-up appointment if she had any worries.

The mother is demanding an apology from the health officials and said that she wants a review of the service in schools.

She told The Telegraph: "I feel really angry about this. I agree that teaching teenagers about sexual health and contraception is very important, but this is a step too far.

"Teenagers have the right to protect themselves and she did the right thing by seeking advice but to not be checked after such a procedure is totally wrong.

"I have spoken to a lot of parents at the school and they were horrified to find out this was happening."

Health officials have defended the scheme, saying letters were sent to parents at all nine participating schools in Southampton when the service was launched.

It was then left to individual schools to inform parents of all future students joining, either by letter or in the school prospectus.

Government statistics disclose that nearly 5,000 teenagers below the age of consent were given the devices last year, compared with about 800 just five years ago.

But campaigners from the Family Education Trust said the implant initiative would give girls licence to have underage sex.

Mr Norman Wells, director of the trust, told the Daily Mail: "Schemes like this are giving girls as young as 13 a licence to engage in illegal sexual activity and denying them the protection that the law on the age of consent is intended to give."

This article was first published in The New Paper.