So once again the question has been raised of whether it is right to give young girls access to contraception and emergency contraception. Predictably, many are outraged at this, although it is unclear whether this is because of some misguided moral standpoint or merely based on jealousy that there are some people out there who are enjoying an active sex life. I can understand that some parents perhaps feel that they ought to be given the opportunity to support their children, but the truth is that young women (underage or not) need to be allowed to feel that they are in control of their own lives and their own destinies. The stark reality is that many of them obviously do feel unable, for whatever reason, to approach their parents about birth-control issues – and it is worth bearing in mind here that not all families share the same cultural values. Who are we to moralise and sit in judgement on the lives of those whom we know nothing about? It’s also worth remembering that this isn’t about pontificating on the rights or wrongs of underage sex, it’s a decision about underage motherhood.
A lot of people seem to feel that parents always know best but, as the underage pregnancy statistics show all too clearly, anybody with the necessary organs can conceive and bear a child – for it demands neither wisdom nor discernment – which rather undermines that entire argument. Our health professionals are qualified to give the very best care and advice in order to help our youngsters without pressure, guilt or the preaching of morals. Young women need to be able to seek support and impartial advice without consequence (or quite literally bear the consequences) and we should be thankful that we live in a culture which does not subjugate females but allows them to make their own educated decisions.