Britain has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe, and a government initiative to lower the rates in Southampton has parents up in arms.
Girls as young as 13 have been receiving contraceptive implants in school, regardless of parental consent. Nine schools are reportedly involved in the program.One angry mother says it is “morally wrong” to implant the device, and the procedure has led to serious mood swings and weight gain in her 13-year old daughter.
The mother added, according to the Southern Daily Echo, “If she has a headache at school, the school calls to ask if they can give her a paracetamol or if she needs a tooth out, before surgery the dentist asks me to sign a consent form.” She said her daughter merely had to fill out a questionnaire and have a consultation before undergoing the procedure, and there were no follow-up appointments scheduled.
According to Mail Online, the contraceptive implant Nexplanon is a 4cm thin flexible tube that is fitted under the skin of the upper arm. The implant releases a hormone progestogen, which prevents an egg from leaving the ovary, and has been 99 % effective in stopping pregnancies.
Health officials have stated that letters went out to the parents at all participating schools when the program began in 2009, according to The Telegraph. Then the decision to inform parents of their children entering the program was left to the participating schools.
According to the Huffington Post, the Department of Health says: "Doctors and health professionals have a duty of care and confidentiality to all patients, including under-16s. Solent National Health Service Trust said trained staff provides the service, and they offer information, advice and support. They say the procedure has cut down the number of under-16 pregnancies.