Fri 1st Aug 2014 | Last updated: Thu 31st Jul 2014 at 16:39pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Government policies have encouraged irresponsible sexual behaviour among children

Giving girls as young as 13 the contraceptive Pill without their parents’ knowledge is yet another hugely misguided policy. Time for a change of approach?

By on Wednesday, 9 May 2012

An NHS trust has suggested that pharmacists should be able to give the contraceptive pill to teenagers without their parents' consent (PA photo)

An NHS trust has suggested that pharmacists should be able to give the contraceptive pill to teenagers without their parents' consent (PA photo)

Should girls as young as 13 be given the Pill by pharmacies without their parents’ knowledge? This recent item in the news has been given a reasoned and sensible answer by Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, in the Times. Reading the points he argues makes one stand back and look at the way society now treats our young people – and to be appalled by it.

As Wells points out, in the past there were many restraints on underage sexual activity for a good reason: sex, as society once realised, was linked to bonding, babies, the raising of children, providing for them and establishing a family. Cut free from such links unrestricted sexual behaviour would mean social mayhem – the situation we are now in. Wells cites all the ways that society has systematically turned against the wisdom and caution of previous generations:

• Explicit sex education at ever-younger ages in schools which has undermined the natural caution of young children
• Turning a blind eye to “the age of consent”
• The ready availability of contraception and the “morning-after” pill
• Confidentiality policies that mean young girls need not worry about their parents’ response – a brake on behaviour for earlier generations

As Norman Wells points out, to make the Pill available to girls under the age of 16 at chemists’ outlets would save them the embarrassment of having to see a doctor; in other words, sexual licence at an even younger stage of emotional immaturity would be encouraged.

I know the Government states that these hugely misguided policies will lower the statistics of teenage pregnancies but I do wonder if ministers really believe this. All the evidence is against them and always has been. As Wells indicates in his article, research published in the Journal of Health Economics in 2011 concluded that schemes to provide emergency birth control to under-16s at pharmacies did not cut teenage pregnancy rates and “led to increases in diagnoses of STIs”. So not only are we encouraging teenagers to engage in irresponsible sexual activity but we are also making it more likely that they will have long-term problems of infertility at a later stage when they want to settle down and start a family.

Is this what the Government really wants for young people? To engage in sexual relations when they feel like it, as long as they are “protected”, without any regard for the possibility of damage to health, physical and mental? Wells concludes his article: “If health authorities are interested in reducing underage teenage conception, abortion and STI rates, they should look for ways to discourage young people from engaging in sexual activity. The last thing they should be doing is fuelling the flames of a sexual health crisis with schemes that treat parents, the law and basic moral principles with contempt.”

I am intrigued by his use of the phrase “basic moral principles”. What are these and who, outside older people or those who have a religious framework to their lives, understands them anymore? It suggests we all agree on certain broad moral assumptions – such as that sexual activity should be discouraged in schoolchildren because they are too volatile, impulsive and immature to understand its repercussions. But we don’t.

People shake their heads when this subject comes under discussion and say “It’s too late. You can’t turn the clock back”. You can’t reproduce the conditions of society 50 years ago; that’s true. But you can still learn from enduring lessons of the past. If you are the Government, with the power to enact laws for the protection and good of the citizenry, you could at least be honest enough to acknowledge that the sexually permissive policies of recent decades have completely failed our teenagers and that it might be time to explore alternative policies.

Peter Maurin, the friend and idiosyncratic mentor of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker newspaper in the States, used to say that laws are in place to encourage people to avoid the bad. Our society positively encourages our youth to do the opposite.

  • JabbaPapa

    Well it’s hardly rocket science, is it !!

    1) Stop teaching children that to be an “adult” is to be a sex maniac.

    2) Provide real political support for the “nuclear family” — going further than that would be best, but would also be pragmatically impossible.

    3) Stop teaching that the 1.5% of non-heterosexuals have 50% of the legal “rights” and entitlements

    4) Launch criminal investigations into every single report of sex between adults and minors (YES — this would be a cripplingly difficult task initially, because there is just SO MUCH of this occurring everywhere and every minute in the UK — but ANYTHING is better than just accepting the normalisation of child molesting, whilst hypocritically blaming the Church for the grossly destructive failures of the sexual revolution)

    5) Stop teaching cowardice — our children (and, frankly, their parents) need to be taught that confronting and denouncing abusers is both a duty and a virtue, and that it is its own reward.

    6) START teaching children how to think for themselves. I’d normally say something like “start doing this again”, except that it’s such a LONG time that this was last current that many teachers and parents don’t actually know how to do this themselves.

    7) STOP teaching that religion is all about taboos and interdicts — START teaching that its REAL purpose is to foster joy and thankfulness for Existence and Life, and Worship of the Source of our very Reality.

    8) DON’T brush the scandal of 20th/21st century generalised paedophilia under the carpet by providing free uncontrolled contraception and abortions to 13-year olds rather than launching criminal investigations.

    9) STOP promoting contraception and the associated sex maniac mentality.

    10) STOP promoting abortion as if it were no more meaningful than getting a filling at the dentist’s.

  • ms Catholic state

    So where do you think all the good things come from?!  Or do you just ignore all the good God has given.  Typical.

  • Alan

    All teenagers are impressionable, and hugely influenced by their peer-group and by the media they choose to read or watch.  Nowadays they are made to feel odd if they stand aside from the sex-obsessed culture.  It is very difficult to change that culture, and I feel that much of the damage was done in the 1980s by the liberalisation of the broadcast media (thanks to Mrs. Thatcher).  If the public were more aware of the huge NHS bill resulting from promiscuous sex, that might help

  • karlf

    But as you have no power or influence to do any of this, how will you improve the situation? Perhaps that’s where the rocket science comes in?

  • JByrne24

    Well I cannot share your opinion that contraception undermines the moral order and destroys our future.
    I would be very concerned if it did either of these things.

    What contraception does do is to prevent, in very many instances, several real evils.

  • JByrne24

    To associate contraception with a “sex maniac mentality” is a grave error (as some often say).

    I note, without any surprise, your authoritarian list of “stops” and “don’ts”.
    In an ideal world (as you see it), would these be enforced by the Secret Sex Police (SSP), or simply left to individuals and organisations to decide for themselves?

  • JByrne24

    So what are you saying should be done when you have the ability/power to prevent an evil, caused by another evil over which you had no such power?

    I would choose to do what I actually can do.

    Our sex-obsessed society has little if any causal relationship with contraception, but has very much to do with our gutter, consumer-junk celebrity sub-culture.

  • ms Catholic state

    Of course it does.  That’s contraception’s core function….to facilitate promiscuity without procreation.  It enables evil while blocking that which is good.

    And children can never ever be called evil….which is what you have just done! 

  • karlf

     Yes – the drive for glamour and hollow notions of status that are exacerbated by our contemporary popular culture.

  • FR. Thomas Poovathinkal

    DISCIPLINE (WISDOM OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST THE LORD IMPRINTED ON NATURE), SELF-CONTROL, BODY AS THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD, PURITY OF BODY, MIND AND SOUL(“BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART, FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD”), NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING  ETC. ARE IN NO WAY FUNDAMENTALISTIC.

  • karlf

    So you still refuse to answer!
    I consider myself very fortunate indeed to experience such wonderful things, especially when I consider how unfortunate most of the world is in comparison.The natural world is also full of hardship and suffering – is that part of God’s testing of us too?
    I suppose I think the good things must come from the same place as all the other things.

  • Lilymae55

    Are you married? Do you have to worry about not being able to feed your family if you have one more child? If God intends for someone to have another child whilst on contraception than it can fail but as most Catholic families stop at two children and still have healthy sex lives, maybe God respects that choice.  As for teenage pregnancy even if free contraception is there for 13 year olds they still have to take it for it to work and many times pregnancy is because they have already ignored what they have been taught or because they have been presuaded that they can’t get pregnant the first time.

  • JByrne24

    “And children can never ever be called evil….which is what you have just done! ”

    This is a false and silly parody or what I wrote, (and recall, if you will, that it is some fundamentalist Christians who consider that a new-born baby is stained with the evil of sin which can prevent her/him from entering heaven).

    But to return to the point: I am saying that contraception can prevent the life of a very young girl from being ruined – the ruining of her life would be an evil.

    The purpose of the pill is to prevent conception when this is undesirable or undesired. 

    You may persuade fellow closed minds from accepting the correctness of your arguments by stating that “of course they are”, but otherwise they will fall on stony ground.

  • JByrne24

    “…whether you get to Heaven or not.”

    Please don’t make threats!

  • JByrne24

    “Just so you know! ”

    Threats again!. Please don’t make threats.

  • JByrne24

    “….but as most Catholic families stop at two children and still have healthy sex lives, maybe God respects that choice. ”

    The fact that most Catholic families use the pill to avoid unwanted pregnancies is usually put on the back burner by the Church.
    This goes back to a most unwise Papal decision to ignore the best advice on the matter and to retreat into ancient mumbo-jumbo.

  • JByrne24

    “LOL oh you really are a hoot!” receives 2 LIKES quite quickly, and teigitur says in effect “no you’re not” with 1 LIKE.

    “Why do you waste your time?” the Devil’s advocate whispers to me, “Can’t you see the level of discussion here?”

    Well, he has a point.

  • ms Catholic state

    The Church preaches chastity before marriage.  It is quite perverse that you would be prepared to countenance a sexually active 13 year old and see no evil in it other than she might get pregnant.  You obviously have no care about the wellbeing of children.

    A bit like our pagan secular authorities then.  The sexual whims of adults come before the welfare of children, who are then schooled in the ways of hedonistic, irresponsible adulthood at the earliest age possible.  Nasty and destructive as you will find out in this world or the next.

  • ms Catholic state

    It is a warning….I don’t make threats as I am not in charge.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal

    WHEREVER THE CHURCH HAS BECOME THE WORLD OR HAS OVERTAKEN THE WORLD WHAT HOPE IS THERE LEFT EXCEPT TRANSFERING THE BLAME TO DIFFERENT KINDS OF ‘ISMS”!

    WHEN THE CHURCH OFFICIALS CHOOSE TO BECOME TRUE APOSTLES KNOWING THAT TO BE THEIR RIGHT CALL FROM THE LORD, THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT. THE LORD HIMSELF WILL WORK WITH THEM AND THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL BE ACCOMPLISED.

  • ms Catholic state

    Is that what you call a threat?!  Had a sheltered upbringing then?!  Pfft….what a crybaby. 

  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

    SEVERAL YEARS BACK  TIME MAGAZINE HAD A LEAD ARTICLE THE TITLE OF WHICH WENT SOMETHING LIKE, “BABIES MAKING BABIES”, OR “CHILDREN MAKING BABIES”.

    WHEN CHRISTIAN RELIGION LOSES IT’S SOUL: JESUS THE LORD, THE SALT BECOMES SALTLESS AND IT IS “THROWN OUT AND GET TRAMPLED UPON BY MEN”, WHO SAID SO?

    IN ANY CASE THE WORLD GOES FROM CORRUPTION TO CORRUPTION, AND PAGAN AND ANTI RELIGIONS ARE TAKING IT OVER ALL BECAUSE THOSE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO MEDIATE THE SALVATION WHICH JESUS  THE LORD BROUGHT ARE SLEEPING OR ARE  THEMSELVES WITHOUT SALVATION.

    ANY CHRISTIAN, YOU AND I ARE WELCOME TO BECOME APOSTLES OF THE LORD LIKE ST. PAUL WHO WAS HIMSELF NOT OF THE ORIGINAL TWELVE……AND YET BECAME THE GREATEST OF THEM ALL!

    WHEN CHILDREN ARE BROUGHT UP IN THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE WORD OF GOD THEY ARE MOST SECURE AND GET ESTABLISHED IN THE SALVATION JESUS THE LORD BROUGHT TO US. AND THEN THE BREAD OF HIS BODY AND THE REST OF THE SACRAMENTS CONTRIBUTE FURTHER TO THEIR GROWTH IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITHIN THEM.

  • mollysdad

    Here’s the problem. The Government is run by arrogant posh boys who love money more than they love their own wives. If they were to set themselves the task of rebuilding the institution of the family, they would have to get serious about achieving full employment and ensure that everyone is paid a wage sufficient to enable a man to support his wife and children. That would be too expensive for these greedy creatures.

  • Markus River

     @JByrne24:disqus

    In jab’s “authoritarian utopia”, enforcement is not so much carried out by the SSP, but rather the SSPX.

  • theroadmaster

    I can agree that society should not enshrine legislation to constrain people from having sexual relations, but  one must have the honesty to realize the debilitating consequences that sexual relations without consequences,are having on society. I don’t disagree that the prevailing modern attitude to sex, is one which favors the autonomy of individuals to indulge their libidos as they please, as long as the relationships are “consensual”.  But of course, this leaves out responsibility or moral consequences.  These are not factored into the calculations, regarding the outcome for wider society and the social consequences have been dire.
    The NHS pilot is not different from the accepted wisdom which has been the foundation for past failed endeavours to check the rising numbers of teenage pregnancies and STDs, etc.Any Christian who is faithful to Christ and biblical principles, would not give their agreement to such immoral policies.  You refer to “fundamentalist Catholics” in negative terms.  But coming from you, we must wear it as a badge of honour.

  • theroadmaster

    Bad outcomes= life which inconveniences those who want to block the natural fertility of the female body for selfish reasons.  Contraception is at the base of so much that is disordered concerning human relationships on more than the sexual level.  Someone like Raquel Welch, who seen and experienced the sexual revolution of the 60′s and 70′s, was honest enough to realize the negative consequences of the Pill, concerning the damage it wrought to marriages.

  • JByrne24

    Yes, that occurred to me as I wrote. 

  • JByrne24

    Yes the Church preaches chastity, but we are dealing with young children who haven’t noticed that.

    You write that I “obviously have no care about the welfare of children”. A travesty of my expressed beliefs!
    I do not ” countenance a sexually active 13 year old” – the point IS that she IS sexually active.
    The pill is needed FOR her well-being.

    As I’ve mentioned before: please stop making threats.

  • JByrne24

    Thank God for that.

  • JByrne24

    I don’t believe that the policy of providing contraception to very young sexually active (whether we like it or not, and I don’t either) people is immoral. 

    The provision of the pill will, in many cases, prevent the lives of these youngsters from being ruined. That is a moral good, surely. 

    No good whatever will come from further preaching. These young people learn the true faith of their seniors, and the true values of society, by observing the way their seniors live, and the way society conducts itself. 

  • theroadmaster

    Surely we have a duty as parents and society to try to teach youngsters respect for their bodies and not to be pressurized by their peers into sexual activity.  Reputable studies show that the earlier a person indulges in sex, the more inclined they are to promiscuity with it’s attendant health and psychological problems.  I think that you have put the proverbial cart before the horse, when it comes to the ill-advised over-reliance on the pill to get young people out of trouble sexually vis-a-vis moral instruction.  Sage advice would be to for them to refrain from such activity. until a point is reached in  adulthood, when they are ready to settle down with someone(preferably in the married state).  Throwing condoms and contraceptive pills at the problem exacerbates it, as it on a sub-conscious level gives the green-light to pubescent and teenage youngsters to carry out regardless with their sexual activites.

  • ms Catholic state

    So what are parents and the authorities doing…..nothing except facilitating the sexual activity of all adults and now even young children.  They should bow their heads in deep shame…..and they will some day.  But for now they continue along on their despicable, sinful course unhindered.

    If a 13 year old girl is sexually active that is a matter for the police.  It is not a matter of supplying her with contraception to aid her abusers.  That is pure evil.

  • JabbaPapa

    hear hear !!

    JB24 clearly has no moral understanding.

  • JabbaPapa

    You clearly have no understanding of the nature of moral teaching.

    And your ability to read what is written seems to be fairly sub-par too.

    I have mentioned teaching, which requires teachers — you have utterly misconstrued this as involving authoritarianism and the Police.

    The only mention that I made of the Police involves the prosecution of paedophilia as the crime that it is, instead of its direct encouragement.

    I cannot help it if you fail to understand that the so-called “sexual revolution” has created a society of sex maniacs.

  • JabbaPapa

    I am not a traditionalist Catholic, you twerp.

  • JabbaPapa

    My own powers to improve the situation are limited to writing down what is needed to do so.

    I have no voting rights in the UK, for starters…

  • JabbaPapa

    I take note of your explicit self-contradiction — you disagree that we are in a society of sex maniacs, but then write that we have a sex-obsessed society ?

    Make up your mind !!

    Or is it just that you don’t care which ideas you trot out to disagree with me, just as long as that goal is acheived ?

  • karlf

    no kidding?

  • JByrne24

    You flatter yourself believing that I post to simply disagree with you.

    I would differentiate between the terms in question broadly as follows:

    A “sex maniac” would include: paedophiles; rapists; the mentally sick who murder (mainly) girls…etc.  

    Our “sex-obsessed society” would include: the selling of a wide range of things such as: cars; soap; anti-perspirants, magazines & newspapers…Advertising films (& selling cinema tickets); attracting large audiences to TV shows; selling holidays etc.

  • JByrne24

    It’s getting rather thin here.
    But, very briefly, the whole idea of the conventional pill is that it is used BEFORE sex – unless of course you are advocating the “morning-after” medication.
    How would police know? Through the chemist? – if so the girl would not go, and would become pregnant.

    There is clearly a role here for Jabba’s Secret Sex Police (SSP), mentioned elsewhere on this thread!
    Maybe the computers and mobiles of young girls should all be bugged by the SSP –or perhaps they could be spied on by unmanned drones.

  • JByrne24

    I would think the lack of it [the pill] causes much more damage to families, and to society at large.

  • JByrne24

    “I am not in charge”

    Oh yes, I know. You are only God’s spokeswoman.

  • JabbaPapa

    … cripes you’re hopeless …

    May the Lord God have a better opinion of you than I have !!

  • JabbaPapa

    Then you’re deluding yourself.

    “cars, soap, anti-perspirants, magazines & newspapers” are not sex.

    Sex is not soap, as I have been forced to point out in here TWICE now.

  • JByrne24

    Yes, I agree very much with your first sentence. 
    But once the young ARE about to engage in sexual activity they must, I think, be provided with the means to avoid further trouble.
    “Sage advice” is all very well and good before adulthood – but you can’t always put an older & wiser head on young shoulders. Speaking from experience, I know that 13 year old girls (for example) can be a “devil of a problem” when trying to reason with them, for their own good, and about almost any matter.

    It might seem intuitively “obvious” that contraceptives would exacerbate the problem, but I don’t believe there are grounds for thinking it does. And, most important of all, is that specific cases are treated “on the spot” – and right away, to avoid harm to the child.

  • JByrne24

    Can you read AND understand what’s written at the same time?

    I said that sex is USED to sell cars, soap, magazines etc etc.

    I shall not burden your mind with any further replies on this or anything else.
    As that nasty advocate said (and he DOES get a thing or so right, once in a while): “What’s the point of talking to Jabba?”

  • theroadmaster

    The lack of it, I think, would be a much more healthy option in so many ways, as in  the physical and moral standing of those who live by the natural rhythms and demands of their bodies as God so designed them.

  • theroadmaster

    But the stats concerning the negative after-effects of widespread sexual activity by pre-pubescent and pubescent kids e.g teenage pregnancies, more than ever call for a rethink in relation to central government and local authority policies, used to combat these problems.  I think that explicit health education without any recognizable moral content, and the wide availability of contraception and condoms, have failed miserably to reduce the tide of bad figures.  It will soon come to a time when those in authority will have to consider a radically different strategy e.g a morally-based program which strongly advises kids to respect themselves and eachother, with an emphasis on the beauty of loving relationships within a preferably marital structure.

  • JByrne24

    But “the stats” of which you speak can’t be assumed to have a CAUSAL relationship with the availability of the pill. The two may coincide roughly in time – but this is not (necessarily) causal connection, merely coincidence in time.
    (I might rise in the morning as the Sun rises, but my act of rising does not cause the Sun to do the same).
    Further I would suspect that any cause-effect relationship [in respect of pill usage and promiscuity] is, probably, the inverse of what is often suggested; i.e. that increased sexual promiscuity has been one important factor (there are others) that has led to contraceptive developments such as the pill.

    I agree that the lack of moral content or inspiration in sex/health education and in many (most) aspects of our lives today is deeply sad.

  • karlf

    tell that to all those millions of children suffering with blindness, deformity, cancer and all those other horrendous afflictions God has given them