13 April 2007

Sue Palmer on 'This Morning'

Ok, so I do sometimes watch 'This Morning', but, in my defense, it does cover quite a lot of topics which I feel are relevant to me as a young feminist. Today the author of Toxic Childhood, Sue Palmer was interviewed about the pressures which we as a society put our children under.

Now, I don't necessarily completely disagree with everything which she has to say, but there is one point which was made again and again on 'This Morning', that bastion of liberalism, which I felt compelled to pick up on. Contraception (including the morning-after pill) being prescribed to underage girls. Apparently this is inappropriate because it undermines the role of her parents. What? She would rather make sure that middle-England's parents sensibilities are not upset than ensure that young girls are given an opportunity to avoid an unwanted and potentially devastating pregnancy. What about the rights of the girl to control her own body? Perhaps we should trust her judgement and trust that she would have spoken to her parents about sex and relationships if she had felt able to. We are more concerned with the "rights" of her parents than the rights of teenage girls to make their own decisions about their own bodies.

This makes me sick. Refusing to provide young girls with contraception on demand does not prevent them from having sex, it just makes it more likely that they will become pregnant, or catch an STD. We should be providing children with comprehensive sex education from a young age, to ensure that they are properly equipped to deal with sexual relationships when the time comes. We should be making it easier for them to access contraception confidentially, and we should accept that teenagers have sex. They always have done and they always will do, and as long as they are aware of the risks, then it is not a problem, and in fact, it is none of our business.

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