Source: New Statesman
Bigots and reactionaries are like small children, in that when they ask a question over and over and over again, it’s usually because they don’t like the answer. ‘How do we stop teenage girls having sex’ is one of these questions. The answer, “We really, really can’t” is unacceptable to the moral mumocracy, who become incensed when any policy is proposed that appears to prioritise young girls’ safety and autonomy over those excellent, tried-and-tested methods of preventing teenage pregnancy: shame and ignorance.
This week, a scheme is being piloted in the Isle of Wight that will allow girls as young as 13 to have access to a month’s supply of the contraceptive pill over the counter in pharmacies. The Daily Mail has gone bonkers, which might seem surprising given the suggested attitudes of its readers both to teenage pregnancy and to abortion. All becomes clear, though, when one understands that the greater social evil is teenage girls having sex at all. The scourge of the underage slags must be stamped out by any means necessary, as long as those means don’t involve actually providing useful sex education.
Simply perpetuating the fear of pregnancy by making contraception harder to access is no more likely to stop teenagers shagging each other than a conversation about in-built obsolescence and sweatshop labour is going to stop hipsters buying MacBooks. For the record, I’m typing this on a MacBook. For some, the main objection to contraception being made available in pharmacies is that it means that young girls will be able to access prophylactics without first talking to their parents, who are of course the proper gateways for all teenage sexual behaviour. I don’t know about you, but when I first considered becoming sexually active, I couldn’t WAIT to talk to my mum about it.