Pill could be made available at pharmacies

// 1 January 2008

Bit late on this one, but the Department of Health is thinking about running a pilot scheme to allow pharmacists to dispense the contraceptive pill without the need for a doctor’s signature. Pharmacists would be trained to deal with the individual’s needs in the same way as a doctor – all relevant checks would be made to ensure she was given the right pill – this isn’t a case of simply handing it over to anyone who asks for it.

Sounds like a sensible move, right? We have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, so enabling easier access to the pill – particularly for girls who may be afraid of going to their family doctor and would welcome the anonymity provided in a pharmacist’s – seems a no-brainer. Well, you’d be wrong. The important sounding Family Education Trust asserts that:

If you give a 14-year-old the pill she’s going to get chlamydia and gonorrhoea from the boy who says that’s all she needs to stop getting pregnant.

Yes, it is clearly wholly unlikely that the pharmacist – like a doctor – would tell the girl that the pill doesn’t protect her from STDs and that she needs to use condoms as well.

Snark aside, the obvious answer to this potential problem is better sex education. So what are the Family Education Trust going to do about this? You guessed it – produce a bunch of leaflets telling secondary school kids that they shouldn’t have sex before marriage because then it’ll be more special and we won’t destroy any more children’s lives by recklessly bringing them up without Mummy and Daddy’s special piece of paper filed away in the parish records (for which read sex is dirty and horrible and makes the baby Jesus cry).

Way to teach that 14-year-old you’re so worried about how to protect herself, my dear fusty right-wing hand wringers.

And, by the way, if you wait until marriage to have sex because you think it’s ‘worth the wait’, I’d start preparing yourself now for a biiiiiiiiig disappointment. (Hint: good sex takes practice, that’s why the rest of us are all getting busy with the condoms. Aww, don’t look like that, it’s only so we’ll have more fulfilled marital relations.)

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