Girl, 13, Given Contraceptive Implants At School

contraceptive implantAs the debate over sex education in the classroom rages across the globe, at least one British school has a whole new issue to contend with: birth control. Parents are furious after discovering NHS managers have been giving their daughters – some as young as 13 – contraceptive implants at school without informing them.

The initiative, launched in Southampton to combat the high rate of teen pregnancies, is causing outrage among countless parents who say it’s morally wrong and just plain irresponsible. Their issue isn’t so much the actual implants – called Nexplanon and inserted under the skin – as much as the lack of parental consent.

One mother, who does not want her name used, told the Daily Echo the contraceptive implants caused serious mood swings, depression and weight gain in her 13-year-old daughter. She’s upset that she wasn’t informed but even more so that her child’s doctor wasn’t informed. As well, there are no follow-up appointments, and many people are questioning why not.

According to the piece, nine Southampton schools are involved in the government initiative (three remaining schools opted out). Students simply need to fill out a questionnaire about their medical history – though how many 13-year-olds know their full medical history? – and undergo a consultation with health experts before receiving the contraceptive.

“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,” the unnamed mother told the Daily Echo. “To perform a minor surgical procedure on school grounds, without parents knowing, is morally wrong and I think more parents should be aware that their children could be having this procedure.” [tagbox tag="birth control"]

She goes on to explain that if her daughter has a headache, the school will call to see if they can give her a Tylenol. Likewise, a dentist will have her sign a consent form before extracting a tooth. “Yet my daughter can go to school and have this implanted into her arm, without consulting her GP or parents,” she said.

I don’t blame this mother for being angry. Do I think that teenagers have the right to contraceptives? Absolutely. And I think that having it available at school is a step in the right direction. But I also think it’s neglectful not inform these students’ doctors, at the very least.

Truth is, most teens are not comfortable discussing sex with their parents, and some are even too embarrassed to broach the subject with their doctors (that was actually the case with Jamie Lynn Spears). So it’s nice to know they have somewhere else to turn. But it’s vital for these health workers to have a patient’s full medical history, which for better or for worse means getting these young girls’ doctors involved. I also think they have an obligation to follow-up post-procedure, something that is clearly not being done.

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  • jack sprat

    The government officials, up to and including Prime Minister, who were involved in this should be–at a minimum–jailed for at least a year, after being horse-whipped for their effrontery.

  • dreaming78

    I find it desperately irresponsible. Pregnancy isn’t the only possible unwanted outcome from sexual activity. The implant is going to give the kids a false sense of security, and could lead to the rampant transmission of STDs.

    This is coming from someone in the US, so take it with that perspective. However, for anything to be done to our kids, there needs to be parental permission and documentation. That’s right up until they turn 18. This is a medical procedure, and could potentially cause side effects. If the kid isn’t comfortable with speaking to Mom about it, that makes it more likely that minor side effects could become major before they’re dealt with.

    One more point. I think that doing this gives the impression that girls are the only ones who need to be responsible in a sexual partnership. Boys are let entirely off the hook. I think that’s wrong.

    • t-rex

      Agreed, agreed, wholeheartedly agree! You hit it right on the button!

  • Good idea

    All teenagers should be equipped with semi-permanent birth control until they are able to use their brains over their hormones.

    • t-rex

      If a child can’t talk about sexual issues with their parent, or even ask for birth control, then they don’t have the maturity to fully analyze sex.

      This goes both ways, though. Parents need to talk about sex and sexual protections often. As uncomfortable as it made me as a teenager, I knew that I could go and talk to my parents about getting birth control. Indeed, my mom and I still talk about this when necessary. (Big emphasis on necessary.)

      Practicing with my parents made me feel more confident about talking about protection with my partner. The teenagers I grew up with whose parents did this did not get pregnant. IJS.

  • Anonymom

    I don’t really see a problem with making birth control available to teens that are sexually active but they shouldn’t be doing this kind of thing without their parents’ knowledge at all. I wish kids did abstain from sex until they were old enough to understand the repercussions and consequences of it, i.e.) pregnancy and STDs but I would rather teens be using birth control than having babies they aren’t financially, emotionally or mentally prepared to care for.

    With all of that said, sexual education should begin at home. Abstinence only conversations or anatomical discussions are not enough! Kids need to be taught about sex and feel comfortable enough discussing this stuff with their parents. Parents need to be comfortable and educated enough about sex to help their kids become educated, mature and informed on the subject. I don’t want my son’s first sex conversation with me to be that he got a girl pregnant underage!

  • Lynda

    hormone birth control, pills/implants/etc… can have many indications, side effects, and are known causes of cancer, strokes, etc… Teenagers blindly trust adults and aren’t legal adults therefore I don’t know how someone could make that determination, let alone an IMPLANT without the parents consent. I wouldn’t feel any differently if a doctor signs off on it. I am nowhere near as worried about an accidental pregnancy as I would be my daughter contracting herpes, HPV, chlamydia (which would make her UNABLE to have children) and AIDS…which only CONDOMS can prevent. The school somehow thinks it’s their responsibility to prevent pregnancy, but as a parent it’s MY job to protect my daugter’s life. Thank goodness we talk about this stuff, but if it were my child they did this too, I would be homicidal!

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  • hope

    I think its wrong and both sexes should be taught how to say no and wait until marriage. People say your a prude if you wait- but what is wrong with that. It also teaches boys to have respect for girls which is lacking these days.

    The other cocern is the emotional affect because girls can be damage perm by having sex too earlier. The boy is not penetrated and if my child ended up with emotional issues because they have sex- I would sue the health system. I think a girl coming for contraceptive pill should be given couselling because she needs emotional support not sex.

    I think if sex waited until marriage maybe marriages would last and people should take full responsibility for their children, and that includes finanical support for the child without the govt.

  • Tasmin

    This was my school. I think its morally wrong her parents didnt get told. But its great to have the facility at school. We always have someone to go to if we need to.