News from the Office of National Statistics that consumption of the morning-after pill has almost doubled in the last two years has been greeted with dismay by pro-life groups. A spokesperson for Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) said: In 2003 we saw the highest number of abortions ever recorded since 1967, and this despite increased use of contraception and the morning after pill. "What is particularly tragic is to see the increase in abortions for young women in the 15-19 age group, a figure which is almost exactly paralleled by increased access to the morning after pill. "When will the Department of Health gets its head around the reality of what the current mentality is doing to the health of young women. Teenagers swallow more and more dangerous hormones, have more and more abortions, and contract more and more sexually transmitted diseases. And they will inevitably be the infertile of tomorrow. "The recent BBC poll showed that the public wants proper sex education for young people, with warnings about the dangers of casual sex. And young people were recorded as lamenting the relentless menu of sex which they find in teenage magazines and other media outlets. The Department of Health needs to do some serious and urgent rethinking. On the basis of these present appalling statistics, nobody could call their current approach a rational health programme." John Smeaton director of The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said: "These statistics represent a tragedy for women and a concerted attack on the right to life. Women are being mis-sold the morning after pill as a contraceptive when it is an abortion-inducing drug that can cause the destruction of the newly-conceived embryo by preventing implantation. If women are not informed about this function of the pill, they are not being given the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether or not to take the drug. "Furthermore, if the morning after pill fails to prevent pregnancy or cause an early abortion, there is a risk of an ectopic pregnancy developing, a potentially life-threatening complication. The long-term effects of taking a pill that contains fifty times the dosage of hormones contained in the mini pill are unknown, particularly on girls under the age of 16 whose bodies are not yet fully developed. How can the government be prepared to take such a gamble with women's health in order to pursue short-term goals of reducing teenage pregnancy rates?"
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