By Hilary White, LifeSite News
Recent legal changes in Britain have made the hormonal drug the Morning After Pill (MAP) free to women across the UK with a prescription. The health department of Wales, however, is going one further. Starting today, the MAP will be available free of charge, even to under-age girls, in over 700 Welsh chemists without a prescription. And the plan is to expand the service into all pharmacies in the province, including those in supermarkets.
According to new rules, pharmacists will be allowed to decide whether it is “clinically appropriate” to dispense the drug to girls under 16 without the supervision of a physician and, according to existing rules, without informing parents. This despite the fact that the age of legal consent for sex in Britain is 16.
Welsh Assembly Health minister Edwina Hart, a Labour party MP, is behind the change. Hart announced last November that she wanted to see the MAP available without a doctor’s appointment and “easily accessible within the 72-hour time span necessary for emergency contraception to be most effective.”
But campaigners have warned that the move will only exacerbate an already bad situation. Wales has one of the highest rates of underage pregnancy in Europe.
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