A feature in last Sunday’s Sunday Times reports the fact that 58,000 girls aged 15 are on the contraceptive pill and many more are using other forms of long-term contraception. More than a 1,000 girls aged 11 and 12 have been prescribed the pill and a further 200 between the ages of 11 and 13 have long-term injectible or implanted contraceptive devices. Trevor Stammers, a member of the British Medical Association expert panel on sexual health, said: “These figures illustrate the fact that the UK is facilitating the sexualisation of young people at an even younger age.”
These figures are a sad reflection on the morals of modern British society and they confirm that moral standards both in schools and in homes are very low. It seems that due to patient confidentiality, parents are often unaware that their children are using contraceptives. I think one of the problems is that we teach children the mechanics and the biology of sex and forget that the most important part is that of relationships. There can be no doubt that children are ill equipped to deal with sexual relationships at the tender age that many of them are now experimenting. There is a tangible decline in moral teaching both at home, at schools and, sadly, in many of our churches.
I have heard it said that it is better that children who intend to indulge in sex should use contraceptives rather than have unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortions. Whilst there is some truth in the argument that if they are going to do it it is better that they should use some form of protection but it would be far better if they didn’t have sex at that age. It is also a fact that abortions amongst teenagers have increased and some have been known to have more than one. Unfortunately everything children see on television and on the internet is sexualised to such a great extent that the act of sex itself has been reduced to a mechanical thing which you do to satisfy an appetite rather than as part of a loving relationship in marriage.
Because many of these children are also promiscuous they put themselves in danger of contracting a sexual disease and these have been on the increase amongst young people. In my teenage years kids were so concerned about the dangers of an unwanted pregnancy that most weren’t sexually active. Nowadays it is seen amongst teenagers as a badge of coming of age, they have the means to prevent pregnancy and many are put under peer pressure to lose their virginity at an early age.
The Churches need to provide guidance and leadership in giving young people the armour they need to withstand peer pressure and temptation. Moral guidance for young people is not easy but it is something we mustn’t shirk from. Pressure also needs to be put on schools to give moral guidance and reassert the value of marriage.