Tesco, the British supermarket chain, has announced that its pharmacies will no longer provide the morning-after pill to girls under the age of 16. The company had taken part in a government-backed pilot scheme to make the morning-after pill available in some stores to underage girls without prescription - provoking a storm of protest from pro-life groups. Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco's corporate affairs director, said the change of policy will come into effect today. She said the decision "reflects how we listen to customers and react to their concerns." Julie du Plessis, spokesperson for LIFE, said: "This is good news for young girls, good news for parents and good news for the health of the nation. We are glad that Tesco takes seriously its image as a family-friendly store. "Tesco as standard-bearer of the retail food industry is setting an example of real concern for the health of young girls in the UK. Let's not forget that there is no evidence that the morning-after pill reduces teenage pregnancy rates. Indeed, there is much evidence that it actually increases the incidence of teenage pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted disease. "LIFE calls upon other retailers involved in similar schemes to follow Tesco's brave lead." John Smeaton, national director of Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) said: "Tesco's decision is a step in the right direction and shows what can happen when pro-life people are prepared to stand up and be counted. However, SPUC 's campaign against the morning-after pill will continue. It can cause an early abortion and yet it can be freely given to children in schools and sold in pharmacies without any reference whatsoever to the abortion law. The government is deceiving women and their promotion of the morning-after pill to reduce teenage pregnancies is actually disguising the increasing numbers of abortions taking place."
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