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  Parliamentary References on Reproductive Health
January 2001

The following information has been kindly supplied by Amanda Callaghan, Public Affairs Manager, BPAS.

Emergency Contraception Provision

Shona McIsaac MP asked the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the provision of emergency contraception.

Yvette Cooper MP (Minister for Public Health) replied that there have been a number of recent initiatives that should ensure improved access to emergency contraception products. We laid an Order before the House on Monday 11 December to make progestogen the only emergency contraception available as a pharmacy medicine. Also, in addition to the usual NHS routes of access for women of all ages, other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists are now able to supply emergency contraception using a patient group direction, following a clarification to medicines legislation in August.

Written answer 9 January 2001

Teenage pregnancy
Sex education

Jim Cunningham MP
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will take steps to ensure that impartial information on abortion and early motherhood is made available to pupils in schools as a part of their sex education.

Jacqui Smith MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) replied that in July 2000 we issued new sex and relationship education guidance for schools. The guidance explains that secondary schools should teach, among other things, about the responsibilities and the consequences of becoming a young parent and the arguments for delaying sexual activity. It also emphasises that there are strongly held views and religious beliefs about abortion and that the religious convictions of pupils and their parents should be respected.

The guidance also makes it clear that teaching throughout this area of the curriculum should be impartial and should not be influenced by teachers' own beliefs and attitudes.

Written answer 9 January 2001

Teenage Pregnancies

Jim Cunningham MP asked the Secretary of State for Health what action the Government are taking to ensure that pregnant teenagers receive free impartial advice about (a) abortion and (b) motherhood.

Yvette Cooper MP replied that on 2 January she announced 15 Sure Start Plus pilots. These are new programmes in health action zones with high teenage pregnancy rates and where there are Sure Start programmes that will start delivering services over the next few months. In these pilot areas, personal advisers will ensure that pregnant teenagers have access to comprehensive and impartial advice and counselling in the early stages of pregnancy so they are able to make informed decisions, including whether to continue with the pregnancy, adoption or abortion. The personal advisers will also co-ordinate a support package for new parents, both mothers and fathers, tailored to their individual needs, to help them back into education and employment as well as with healthcare and parenting.

In all other areas, local teenage pregnancy co-ordinators will shortly be developing comprehensive service checklists, as part of local co-ordinated teenage pregnancy strategies between health and local authorities. These will be aimed at young people and professionals whose client groups include young people, and will include details of local services that provide early advice and counselling to pregnant teenagers, and services that provide a range of support, including parenting skills, to teenage parents.

Written answer 9 January 20

Sexual health

Harry Cohen MP asked the Secretary of State for Health to summarise the result of the pilot studies on Chlamydia; and to make a statement.

Yvette Cooper MP replied that the pilot study only finished in September we are still analysing the results. The final report is expected in the spring and this will be used to help develop national policy via the sexual health and HIV strategy and the National Screening Committee.

Parliamentary References on Reproductive Health is produced by British Pregnancy Advisory Service. For further information please contact Amanda Callaghan, Public Affairs Manager, Communications Department BPAS 26-27 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HP 020 7612 0206 amanda@bpas.org
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