The morning after pill is to be given out free over the phone for the first time, under a scheme to be announced today.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) will encourage women to stock up on the emergency contraceptive over the Christmas period.
They will have to register their details on a website and will be phoned by a nurse for a 15-minute consultation intended to weed out young teenagers and assess suitability.
However, the charity has admitted that under-age girls will almost certainly obtain pills through the scheme by lying to them. Some children “will not be completely honest about their age”, a spokesman said. Under-16s would usually need a prescription to prevent a possible pregnancy in this way.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said last night that he would prefer the pills to be issued after a face-to-face consultation but stopped short of saying he would intervene.
Other critics likened the scheme to dialling for a pizza and warned that teenagers would abuse it to obtain the morning after pill without their parents’ knowledge. They said it could fuel promiscuity and encourage unprotected sex, risking a rise in sexually transmitted diseases. BPAS said the service was vital at a time when many surgeries and pharmacies would be closed and because chemists’ shops charged up to £25 for the emergency contraceptive , too expensive for some women.
Some high street pharmacies already offer a similar service for a fee but the BPAS service is understood to be the first not to charge.
Chemists’ have been allowed to sell the morning after pill without a prescription to over-16s since 2001. Last year almost 250,000 doses were issued in England. But recent studies have found that providing the pills has failed to cut rates of conception.
A review published last year by the Cochrane Library concluded that women who received an advance supply of the morning after pill had the same chance of becoming pregnant as those who did not have early access to the contraceptive.
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2011-12-07 18:45 编辑：crystal156