Contraception (Under-age Girls)

Petitions – in the House of Commons at 10:28 pm on 31st October 1983.

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Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn 10:28 pm, 31st October 1983

I have the honour to beg leave to present a petition signed by a large number of my constituents. I also have eight identical petitions addressed to right hon. and hon. Members which, for the convenience of the House, I have been asked to present on their behalf.

These petitions are from the contituences of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Monklands, East, Monklands, West, Greenock and Port Glasgow, Glasgow, Provan, Glasgow, Shettlestone, Glasgow, Maryhill, East Lothian and East Kilbride. In addition, my hon. Friend the Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) has asked me to associate his name with this petition. When one sees all these signatures, one realises that there must be several thousand names on these petitions from constituencies throughout Scotland.

The petitioners rightly draw the attention of the House to their opposition to section G of the revised Health Service notice, which was issued by the DHSS in 1980 and which advises doctors that they may provide contraceptive drugs or devices to girls under the age of consent without their parents being consulted. I must agree with the petitioners, because it is unlawful for girls under the age of 16 to have sexual intercourse. Although a doctor's main responsibility is to care for his patients, he is also responsible to the parents and families. In order to strengthen the family's role, parents should have the right to find out exactly what drugs or contraceptives are being given to their children.

In conclusion, the last paragraph of the humble petition states: Wherefore your Petitioners pray that the Honourable Members of the House of Commons should bear in mind, that according to Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 'The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by Society and the State'. We ask that they should therefore urge the Home Secretary that he should recommend to the House that parents must be given statutory rights to be consulted before any contraceptive drugs or devices are given to their daughters whilst they are under 16; thus enabling parents to take whatever actions they think necessary to protect their daughters from early and unlawful sexual relationships, and the criminal actions of the males involved. I beg leave to present the petition.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North 10:32 pm, 31st October 1983

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege and honour to present several petitions on behalf of myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Randall) in similar terms to that presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin). I do not intend to delay the House by reciting the contents. I merely draw the attention of the House not only to the dangers that my petitioners express about the Health Service notice, section G, which advises doctors that they may provide contraceptive drugs or devices to girls under the age of consent without their parents being consulted, but to two of the points made in the petition about the associated problems.

For example, the petition points out that: Modern medical research has also pointed out that powerful hormone contraceptive drugs (oral and injectable) and internal devices carry with them substantial risk both in the immediate and long-term health of immature females, by affecting detrimentally the healthy, developing pituitary and ovaries, and can cause, amongst other things, cancer of the cervix and breast, pelvic inflammatory diseases, retardation of bone growth, deep vein thrombosis, aggression and sterility. The petition also states: Girls need special protection, as the future mothes in society, and must be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means to enable them to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner.Wherefore your Petitioners pray that the Honourable Members of the House of Commons should bear in mind, that according to Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 'The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by Society and the State.' We ask that they should therefore urge the Home Secretary that he should recommend to the House that Parents must be given statutory rights to be consulted before any contraceptive drugs or devices be given to their daughters whilst they are under 16; thus enabling parents to take whatever actions they think necessary to protect their daughters from early and unlawful sexual relationships, and the criminal actions of the males involved.And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. I beg leave to present the petition.

To lie upon the Table.