Over 70 pharmacists in three inner-city Health Action Zones are participating in a pilot program to widen access to emergency contraception for young women in an attempt to halt Great Britain’s climbing teen pregnancy rate. According to statistics from one of the zones, over 100 young women under age 16 have participated, although they make up only 4 percent of women requesting the “morning-after” pill. The program’s next phase will include an ad campaign aimed to encourage women aged 16 to 19 to use emergency contraception. Young women under 16 who requested the pill reported having unprotected sex, or using unreliable condoms that broke during intercourse. The program may be expanded to a national level, and has garnered much interest from other countries as well. Anti-abortion groups in Britain have denounced the program, saying it will simply encourage teens to have unprotected sex. But one health official says the program “transcends” moral arguments, and ensures an important outcome-fewer unwanted pregnancies.
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