London, April 27 (IANS) Pilot programmes are being launched across Britain where teenaged girls - as young as 13 - are being given contraceptive pills by pharmacies without a doctor's prescription or parental permission.
Health authorities have held pilot schemes which cut out doctors when providing the pill. They argue it is a good way to reduce teenage pregnancies.
In the Isle of Wight, 10 community pharmacies are providing the pill to any girl aged 13 or over, as part of a plan to cut the region's high teenage pregnancy rate.
Those under 16, however, must have an appointment with a specially trained nurse, who will ask if the girl has discussed the matter with her parents.
The health experts have recommended that such schemes should be rolled out across the country, and have got support from the government, the Telegraph reported.
The department of health said pharmacies should be able to supply contraceptive pills to girls under 16 if proper safeguards were in place.
Similar schemes have been launched in Manchester and Croydon.
Pharmacists "should be fully satisfied young people understand all the issues before they prescribe any contraceptive, including encouraging the young person to talk to their parents", a spokesman said.
However, Christian campaigners have criticised the scheme, saying they were "dangerous" and "undermine the law with regards to underage sex".
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