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Abortion and Contraception

Introduction One of the relevant issues present today in different communities, r egardless of religion and social status, is the issue regarding abortion and con traception. More often than not, teenagers are the ones being involved in these issues nowadays, and most of the time, parents have no consent on the decisions being made by their children regarding this issue, for the fear of being scolded or grounded. Different laws have been passed worldwide against abortion in acco rdance to the laws of the Church and for preserving human life. This in accordan ce to the campaign of the Church to preserve the lives of many infants, as many opts for abortion than to proceed to having the baby, than risking their career and happy life. In relation to abortion, the issue of using contraceptives also becomes relevant , for its use to prevent pregnancy is a good source of debate. For the Church, c ontraception is not allowed for they consider pregnancy to be a blessing from Go d. On the other hand, most citizens, especially the officials from the governmen t support the use of contraceptives, so as not to significantly increase and aff ect the nations population. This is also to promote responsible family planning, for reasonable reproduction and allocation of resources to children. These two issues are related with one another, as abortion is someho w dependent on the use of contraception. Many believe that if contraceptives wil l be used during sexual intercourse, then pregnancy will be avoided and in turn, abortion will be prevented. This issue is most relevant to many couples who are not yet ready to have a child. In this paper, the issue of abortion and contrac eption under the age of 16 without the consent of the parents will be discussed. It will also analyze the legal case behind the Gillick v West Norfolk Area Heal th Authority or the House of Lords in 1986. This paper also includes the cases, which somehow influenced the judges to decide that to advice abortion and contra ception is not illegal.

Case Study The Gillick case in 1985 became a basis in different move regarding contraception and abortion in different parts of the world. The case disputes th e fact that doctors are allowed to prescribe contraceptives to children under th e age of 16 without the knowledge or consent of their parents (1999). At the tim e, it was envisaged that in the majority of cases, the doctor would be able to p ersuade the child to inform her parents, and only in exceptional cases would a p rescription be given without their knowledge (1999). The judicial process, stirr ed by Victoria Gillick against the local authority having the power to prescribe contraceptives to her daughters, was remarkable in that of the nine eminent jud ges involved, through the Appeal Court and the House of Lords, five judges was f ound in her favor and four judges opposed (1999). Lord judgment stated that a d octor can overrule the parents rights and duty only if he is satisfied that the g irl can understand his advice (1999). Lord Scarman said this understanding must include moral and family relationship questions as well as long-term problems as sociated with the emotional impact of pregnancy, its termination and the risks o f sexual intercourse (1999). The case has stirred debate in different parts of t he world, as this issue becomes a crucial issue whether or not contraception adv ice could be given to girls under the age of 16. From this, the data regarding the trend of teenage pregnancy is esse

ntial to know for it is related to the issue of contraception, for without contr aception, pregnancy can happen. Live births for ages 16-19 year olds in England and Wales in 1983 resulted to 56.3% and were registered outside of marriage, but increased to 87.8% by 1993 (2006). It has been reported that trends over the la st two decades, the introduction of free contraception in 1974 led to a decline in teenage pregnancy rates, for in 1973, the total contraception rate per 1,000 teenagers in England and Wales was 9.2 for 13-15 year olds and 75.2 for 15-19 ye ar olds (2006). Ten years later, the raters were 8.3 and 56.0, of which just ove r half were terminated for the 13-15 age group and a third for the 15-19 age gro ups (2006). Thereafter, rates increased until a peak in 1990 (2006), which was p robably brought about by different factors. First factor is the Gillicks case, which caused a great deal of confu sion over teenagers access to confidential help and advice ( 2006). Second is the onset of economic recession, which led to a decline in young peoples job opportu nities (2006). Lastly were the cuts in family planning clinics, which restricted access to services (2006). These factors contributed to the increase in the num ber of pregnancy cases and in abortion as well. It follows that if many become a ccidentally pregnant, then a solution to unwanted pregnancy would be abortion. T he increased cases of abortion are alarming, so it would be better to seek contr aceptive advice from doctors. This phenomenon would not actually encourage sexua l experimentation on the part of the teenagers, but would inform them of engagin g into safe sex. Although, it is still a given fact that teenagers are still und er the responsibility of their parents until the time they become matured enough to decide for their own. With the increasing incidences of teenage pregnancy and abortion in the United K ingdom and in other countries around the world, it would be also better if many teenagers and members of other age groups would seek advice from doctors and oth er specialists, to obtain information and safety measures.

Reasons behind the Law It has been reported that having regard to the reality that a child became increasingly independent as it grew older and that parental authority dwi ndled correspondingly, the law did not recognize any rule of absolute parental a uthority until a fixed age ( 1985). Instead, parental rights were recognized by the law only as long as they were needed for the protection of the child and suc h rights yielded to the childs right to make his own decisions when he reached a sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up his own min d ( 1985). Accordingly, a girl under the age of 16 did not, merely by reason of her age, lack legal capacity to consent to contraceptive advice and treatment by a doctor ( 1985). These statements became the basis for the decision of judges to allo w girls under the age of 16 to seek advice and treatment from a doctor regarding the use of contraceptives. These just mean that the court of United Kingdom tru st the judgments of children, as long as they are capable of thinking for themse lves and caring for their body. From these statements, it can be deduced that mo st adults or parents in the United Kingdom trust their children very well and le t them decide on such delicate issues, such as sexual intercourse at a very youn g age, pregnancy and contraception. In addition, parents give their children the right to make responsible decisions, as in relation to the mentioned issues. Th is means also that parents can allow their children, especially their young daug hters to engage in sexual relations, and to seek advice from doctors regarding c ontraception and abortion. Moreover, it followed that a doctor had a discretion to give contrac

eptive advice or treatment to a girl under 16 without her parents knowledge or co nsent, provided that the girl had reached an age where she had a sufficient unde rstanding and intelligence to enable her to understand fully what was proposed, that being a question of fact in each case ( 1985). It also followed that the de partments guidance could be followed by a doctor without involving him in any inf ringement of parental rights or breach of the criminal law ( 1985). From these s tatements, it can be understood that doctors can give advice and treatment to yo ung girls even under the age of 16 regarding contraception, given that the girl understands the consequences of her decision and has the proper knowledge regard ing her situation. If the doctor decides to give advice to the girl, then the do ctor will not be held responsible for any offense and will not be blamed for any thing that has happened to his or her patient, as a result of the doctors advice. In accordance to other laws, such as the Child Care Act of 1980, thi s law has also made special considerations regarding contraceptive advice on gir ls under the age of 16. It has been reported that members of the medical profess ion should exercise special care so as not to undermine parental responsibility and family stability in advising persons under the age of 16, will always seek to pe rsuade the child to involve the parent or guardian, and will proceed from the as sumption that it would be most unusual to provide advice about contraception wit hout parental consent, other than in exceptional cases ( 2006). However, doctor or patient confidentiality was not to be abandoned for children under the age of 16 ( 2006). Another law is the Children Act of 1975, which states the right of a child to be taken care of through adoption (The Children Act 1975 and the Adopt ion Act 1976 2000). It also follows that the new parents of the adopted child has the responsibility to guide the child in making decisions. However, when the ti me comes for the adopted child to decide on her own, it will still be in the dis cretion of the doctor to advice the child regarding contraception. Lastly, the F amily Law Reform Act of 1969 states that bodily samples and scientific tests can be done to children even under the age of 16, except for children with disabili ty, such as mental disorder and incapable of understanding the nature and purpos e of scientific tests (1969 2006). This means that if these three other laws will be made as a basis, giving medical contraceptive advice to girls under the age of 16 will not be sanctioned as illegal. This is also in accordance to the Frase r Competency, where a medical professional can examine or treat a patient under the English law if and only if there is a doctor to disclose relevant informatio n regarding the intervention, the patient is competent enough to make a decision , and the patient decides voluntarily (2006). The Fraser Competency Rule require s that any child below the age of 16 can give consent when they reach the necess ary maturity and intelligence to understand fully the advantages and the disadva ntages of their decision (2006). However, even the child is considered to be Fra ser competent, doctors should still encourage the child to inform their parents (2006) regarding their decision. Given the fact, that doctors advice to teenagers regarding contracept ion and other medication is just as important as seeking for treatment, the resp onsibility of parents over their children should still be upheld. Although the c hild is covered by the Fraser competency, the consent of the parents for her to be advised by the doctor regarding contraceptives must still be given. This is t o guide the child in her decisions, as her parents are already experienced in th ese matters. Furthermore, although the doctors are given rights to give contrace ptive advice to teenagers, they should still be responsible enough to only give information and treatment to teenagers regarding safe sexual intercourse and not encourage teenagers to engage in sexual experimentation. This should become a s afety precaution for many teenagers, although intelligent and have sensible mora l standards (1999), could be greatly influenced by their friends, and could be a stimulating factor for them to become interested and engaged in premarital sex. Their friends or peers could also be the persons who could influence them to re sult to abortion.

Conclusion Contraception and abortion are two different concepts and issues, which present consequences. With the cases and statistics stated in the paper, i t could be deduced that both of these issues present significant effects in the society and in the population. Contraception and abortion have a connection. Con traception facilitates the kind of relationships and even the kind of attitudes and moral characters that are likely to lead to abortion (1993). The contracepti ve mentality treats sexual intercourse as though it had little natural connectio n with babies; it thinks of babies as an accident of pregnancy, as an unwelcome in trusion into a sexual relationship, as a burden (1993). It is evident from the statements that the relationship of contracep tion and abortion presents negative effects to the society. Although some may cl aim that positive effects can be achieved, deciding to use these methods greatly affects the morality of individuals in the society. Thus, it is just right to b ecome more responsible in actions, for these can affect many things. It would be appropriate to take responsibility over our actions to create a pleasant societ y. (C) Read more: