This site is intended for health professionals only

Teenage contraception "not forced"

The Department of Health has said that teenage girls will not be "forced" to have the contraceptive injection after it emerged that a number of local authorities were told to increase uptake of the jab.

A spokeswoman insisted the government's primary concern was only to ensure young people had access to effective birth control.

A number of local authorities have received letters from the government encouraging them to get teenage girls to have injections or implants, the Sunday Telegraph revealed.

Local authorities with particularly high rates of teenage pregnancy were told it was "essential" to increase the uptake of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) among teenagers.

A Department of Health statement said that girls will not be forced to have a contraceptive injection.

"Our teenage pregnancy strategy is about providing effective sex and relationships education to ensure young people have the skills to delay sex until they are ready, for parents to talk to their children about sex and relationships and access to effective contraception methods for those that are sexually active."

LARC includes many types of injections and implants, which make women infertile for varying amounts of time.

However, concerns have been raised that using them increases teenagers' risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases, which they did not protect against.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Department of Health