'Morning-After' Pregnancy Pill Is Blamed for Rise in Teenage Births
Byline: GRAHAM GRANT
TRENDY sex education programmes which hand out free morning-after pills to girls without parental consent have sparked a rise in teenage pregnancies.
The number becoming pregnant has soared after the introduction of radical schemes aimed at wiping out the problem in the worst affected areas.
The figures are a major blow for the Scottish Executive, which wants to increase availability of the morning-after pill. Last night critics accused health chiefs of ' sexualising' children and demanded that the schemes to be scrapped.
Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: 'The promotion of the morningafter pill has been utterly irresponsible and has demonstrably failed.
'These projects are no longer worthy of public support and must be scrapped.
They are simply a green light for young people to have promiscuous sex and believe they can solve all their problems afterwards just by swallowing a pill.' Lothian's pregnancy rate among 13 to 19-year-olds increased from 1,365 in 2002-3 to 1,450 in 2003-04, the most recent figures available.
The Lothians have been a testing ground for radical sexual health policies, including the [pounds sterling]3million Healthy Respect scheme launched five years ago.
Under the initiative, schools hand out condoms and pupils are sent to clinics for the morning-after pill.
In March last year, Health Minister Andy Kerr announced an extra [pounds sterling]1.9million funding to extend the project to more schools.
He said: 'We don't know all the answers to solving Lothian and Scotland's poor sexual health problems. But through initiatives like Healthy Respect, we are learning all the time.' Healthy Respect ran into controversy immediately after it was set up by then Health Minister Susan Deacon to find new ways of tackling Scotland's teenage pregnancy problem.
One of its first projects was to send birthday cards with sexual health advice to parents on their child's 14th birthday. …