How to Cut Down on Teenage Pregnancies

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Scotland has come up with a unique way of cutting down on teenage pregnancies: Temporary sterilization!

Up to 400 Scottish girls under the age of 16 have been sterilized without their parents' consent, using public funds.

The sterilization is caused by implanting contraceptive rods under the girls' skin.  The rods release a synthetic hormone into the blood stream that stops the production of eggs for up to three years.

Nobody really knows what the long-term effect could be on girls just barely in their teens.

But sterilizing teens, even temporarily, without their parents' consent has led to a firestorm of criticism.

Dr. Trevor Stammers of the Family Education Trust (search) says: "I do not believe a doctor who does this to a girl under 16 without her parents' knowledge is acting in an ethically acceptable way."

But one doctor working for a family planning organization defended the policy, saying the implants were "popular with girls who wanted to hide the fact that they were sexually active from their parents."

Sort of makes the debate over passing out condoms seem tame, doesn't it?

And that's the Observer.

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