Contraception (Under-age Girls)

Petitions – in the House of Commons at 9:35 am on 11th November 1983.

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Photo of Mr Geoffrey Finsberg Mr Geoffrey Finsberg , Hampstead and Highgate 9:35 am, 11th November 1983

I have the honour to beg leave to present two petitions on behalf of my constituents of Hampstead and Highgate, one from Mrs. Hawkins containing 94 signatures and the other from Rabbi Mariner with 514 signatures.

The petitioners rightly draw the attention of the House to their opposition to section G of the revised Health Service notice issued by the Department of Health and Social Security in 1980 which advises doctors that they may provide contraceptive drugs and devices to girls under the age of consent without their parents being consulted. In the interests of brevity, I shall confine remarks simply to saying that I heartily endorse the sentiments expressed in the petitions. As is customary, the petitions end by saying: And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Stephen Ross Mr Stephen Ross , Isle of Wight

I beg leave to present a petition containing, by my calculations, over 1,300 names collected by my constituents Mrs. Patricia Thorpe and the Rev. James Hair, which calls on the Home Secretary to 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 while they are under the age of 16. I trust that these strongly felt sentiments will be taken due note of by the Government review, the announcement of which two days ago I greatly welcomed.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton , Congleton

I have the honour to beg leave to present a petition on behalf of Mrs. Alison Crossley, of Alsager, which has been signed by 450 of my constituents.

As the mother of a teenage daughter, I fully support and endorse the view of those who believe that the family unit must be protected by society and the state. We therefore oppose the revised Health Service notice, section G, issued in 1980, which advises doctors that they may provide contraceptive drugs or devices to girls under the age of consent without their parents being consulted.

We believe that the medical profession should not aid and abet those who seek to undermine the right and responsibility of parents to be kept fully informed about the moral and physical welfare of their children.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr George Gardiner Mr George Gardiner , Reigate

I beg leave to present a petition from my constituents of Reigate, containing more than 1,300 signatures, as well as petitions on behalf of my hon. Friends the Members for Bradford, North (Mr. Lawler) and for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks).

The prayer from all these petitioners is identical to that already referred to and urges that parents should have a statutory right to be consulted before any contraceptives are given to their daughters under the age of 16.

We note that the Minister for Health has promised to review section G of the revised Health Service notice of 1980 containing the offending advice to doctors, but not until certain appeal proceedings before the courts are completed. In view of the strong feeling in the country, as evidenced by these petitions, we feel that there is every reason for him to commence that review immediately.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Dr Gerard Vaughan Dr Gerard Vaughan , Reading East

I beg leave to present a petition which is identical to those which have already been introduced this morning. Therefore, I shall not delay the House by reading its contents. The petition is on behalf of a large number of my constituents in Reading, East. So far there have been 372 petitions presented to the House on this subject representing the views of well over 500,000 people. I am glad to be associated with these petitions.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I beg leave to present a petition which is in identical terms to those which have already been presented today. I present a petition on behalf of Mrs. P. A. Gray of 32, Eastholm, London NW11, and a further 530 of my constituents in Hendon, South, all of whom have appended their signatures to the petition in a demonstration of their concern about and opposition to the 1980 DHSS revised 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.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

I, too, have the honour to beg leave to present a petition, which is identical to those already presented, on behalf of Mr. McEvoy and 1,600 of my constituents in Harrow, East, expressing the same anxieties and concerns and praying that the Commons will take action to resolve this serious problem.

I have the honour also to present a petition on behalf of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Brittan), the Home Secretary, on behalf of many of his constituents. It is on the same subject and is in the same terms with the same submission.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Frederic Bennett Mr Frederic Bennett , Torbay

I, too, beg leave to present two petitions similar to those presented by other hon. Members on behalf of a similar number of my constituents in Torbay, Devon. I shall not delay the House further by reading them in full. I associate myself fully with the petitions and I share the anxiety of many of my constituents about the guidelines given to doctors for the prescription of contraceptives to girls under the age of 16.

I present a petition on behalf of my constituents and a petition from Tynemouth on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trotter).

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr John Watson Mr John Watson , Skipton and Ripon

On behalf of over 500 constituents from Skipton and Ripon, I beg leave to present a petition identical in terms to those already presented this morning. I add my personal hope that rapid action will be taken along the lines that my petitioners request.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Christopher Murphy Mr Christopher Murphy , Welwyn Hatfield

I have the honour to beg leave to present a petition on behalf of many of my constituents, expressing their opposition to the revised 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. I share the concern that is expressed. It is a matter on which I have already questioned my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Health. I am encouraged by his answer, which suggests a forthcoming reconsideration of the relevant notice.

I commend the petition to the House, which reminds hon. Members that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit in society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Michael Mates Michael Mates , East Hampshire

The petition which I beg leave to present has been prepared by Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Effenberg and Lieutenant T. Gibson, constituents of mine in east Hampshire. It contains 544 signatures and is in precisely the same terms as the earlier petitions.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Michael Brown Mr Michael Brown , Brigg and Cleethorpes

I have the honour also to present a petition on behalf of a large number of my constituents of Brigg and Cleethorpes. It is signed by Mr. David Ireland of 55 Millfields, Barton-on-Humber, who is a commissioner of the Salvation Army. The petition is supported by many of his members and it is in the same terms as those presented previously this morning. I hope that Ministers will consider the sentiments expressed in the petition.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Castle Point

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I seek your guidance? It is within my knowledge that there are many hon. Members who still wish to present petitions of the sort which have been submitted this morning. Some of those who wish to do so are in their places but do not wish to delay the proceedings of the House. Am I right in concluding that there is no time limit on the presentation of the petitions and that hon. Members who wish to complete the preparation of petitions can present them at any time in the next few weeks?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

There is no time limit on petitions and there is no requirement that hon. Members should present a petition in the House. A petition may be placed in the Bag in the normal way to be dealt with in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Commons.

Hon. Members:

Hear, Hear.