Nick Clegg said the morning-after pill debate was ‘lifting a lid on a really basic perspective to women’. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Nick Clegg has criticised Jeremy Hunt for adopting a “medieval frame of mind” to girls right after reviews suggested that the health secretary is opposed to plans to permit ladies below the age of sixteen to pre-purchase the morning-soon after pill on the grounds that it may well motivate promiscuity.
The deputy prime minister criticised a “demeaning” and “patronising” attitude to girls as he said that greater access to the morning-after pill and other types of contraception helped avoid undesirable teenage pregnancies.
Clegg spoke out soon after the Everyday Telegraph reported that Hunt is unhappy about programs by the National Institute for Wellness and Clinical Excellence (Great) to permit ladies beneath the age of 25, such as women below sixteen, to pre-purchase obtain the morning-following pill. The newspaper reported that Hunt’s view reflected issues that there is minor evidence the move would support minimize the quantity of undesirable pregnancies and it might lead to greater levels of sexually transmitted conditions.
Roger Goss, from Patient Concern, informed the Everyday Telegraph of the Great announcement: “It seems like a way of promoting promiscuity.”
Clegg criticised opponents of the announcement. He told LBC: “I am totally appalled and in reality truly quite angry on behalf of a lot of, several women across the country about this suggestion that giving a woman the right to get a morning-right after pill will somehow immediately lead to a lot more promiscuous behaviour. It is demeaning, it is patronising, it is sexist. It is very astonishing.
“Girls will not get the morning-following pill lightly. But to say to a girl she cannot have the right, in case she has unprotected sex … is an absolute insult to ladies across the nation.”
Asked whether or not he had raised his views with Hunt, Clegg said: “I have not spoken to him about it. But I believe the specialists who have very plainly mentioned that delivering the morning-following pill and other kinds of contraception – the proof is extremely extremely clear. It does not lead to far more promiscuous behaviour. It does, nevertheless, help avert unwanted pregnancies.
“This is lifting a lid on a genuinely fundamental mindset to girls. Females should not be informed we are not going to give you the freedom to purchase anything from a chemist due to the fact you feel you might want it simply because otherwise we will not trust how you will behave sexually. It is sort of Victorian. It is worse than that. It is a type of medieval method to females. That is why I am angry as I am on behalf of girls.”
Clegg stated it was proper that contraception should be available to women beneath 16 if the proper procedures have been followed. He mentioned: “There is a lengthy-standing situation about the point at which medical professionals and other medical professionals have acquired to encourage sixteen-12 months-olds and of program any individual younger than that to talk to their mothers and fathers. But when you are faced with the actuality of a teenager who is in problems you as a healthcare specialist want to assist them. For us to decree that they can or they can’t help an individual – that is not going to alter the truth that that a sixteen-yr-previous is in difficulties.”
Asked by the LBC presenter whether or not he understood this meant that women below the age of 16 would be permitted to pre-purchase the morning-following pill, he mentioned: “I do not want to see teenagers, I don’t want to see anyone, suffer unwanted pregnancies.”