At least one in 33 teens in Southampton in the U.K. has received a contraception implant without parental consent through a program sponsored by the government designed to cut back on teen pregnancies in the area.
The Telegraph reported yesterday that the mother of a 13-year-old felt not being asked by the school before the birth control was inserted into her daughter’s arm was “morally wrong”, although she does not disagree with the birth control in general. Here’s what the mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said at the time:
“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.
“To perform a minor surgical procedure on school grounds, without parents knowing is morally wrong.
“I cannot understand how this is allowed to happen.
“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.
“As parents we want to protect our children and I feel that has been taken away from me.”
Today, the teen has spoken about why she didn’t get her mother’s permission and alludes to the fact that officials didn’t necessarily ask if her mother had consented in the first place:
“I think it has really helped me because if I am with my boyfriend and we feel like having sex, I have the peace of mind knowing that I am OK.
“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.
“But I am glad I have told her now. I’d rather tell her I’ve had an implant than tell her I was pregnant.
“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.
“I do get where my mum is coming from and maybe it shouldn’t be done in school.”
The Telegraph reports that it was up to schools to inform parents about the offering of the Nexplanon device as part of the initiative by the National Health Service. Here is what a NHS spokesperson said about the issue:
“We have a responsibility to provide a confidential service that ensures young people have access to professional advice and information as well as contraception, if appropriate.
“Full assessments are undertaken to ensure young people are mature enough to understand their choices and are safe.
“School settings offer an opportunity to engage young people in sexual health and relationship information, as part of their overall health and well-being.”
The implant consists of a four-centimeter tube inserted into the female’s arm. The birth control releases hormones to prevent ovulation and only has to be replaced every three years. Nexplanon’s website also states that the hormone thins the lining of the womb so if an egg were to be fertilized, it would not readily implant.
A NHS Solent spokesperson said that the teen’s medical history and her “capacity to consent to the procedure” was reviewed before the implant was inserted.