A sexual health group have pressured the Scottish Government to consider allowing the morning after pill to be available in schools.
The Scottish Sexual Health Lead Clinicians Group wrote a submission to the Scottish Parliament analysing teen pregnancy. They said that emergency contraception and condoms should be available through school nurses to help lower teenage pregnancy rates.
Results from a study published in June displayed that although teenage pregnancy in Scotland had dropped; the government did not manage to reduce pregnancy to the set target for under 16’s.
In the letter to the Scottish Parliament, the sexual health group said: “Why is emergency contraception not available in schools? Why are condoms and contraception not accessible? Vaccination against a sexually transmitted infection (HPV) is given in schools, why can’t pregnancy and other STIs be prevented?”
They added: “The Scottish government is prepared to make a stand on controversial subjects like gay marriage, why does it run scared of its critics on the subject of making emergency contraception available in schools?”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is not policy that emergency contraception should be provided in schools, but young people can receive advice and be directed to other places where emergency contraception may be available if appropriate.”
The current government policy states that school nurses are required to direct pupils to sexual health clinics, and schools are not allowed to provide students with emergency contraception.
The submission letter to the Scottish Government can be seen here.
Better2Know thinks that providing the morning after pill but not an STI check is not doing enough to protects the health of young people. If you are at risk of pregnancy, you are also at risk of an STI, as like pregnancy it only takes one time. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV could all be passed on and may affect future fertility if left untreated.
Better2Know has STD Testing clinics across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
This guest post was written by Jessica Delaney a communication student at Sheffield Hallam University.