Should 13-year-olds be allowed the pill over the counter?


Contraceptive pill

Girls as young as 13 should be able to buy the pill without having to tell their GP or their parents, says an NHS report.

Currently, there are two schemes - in the Isle of Wight and Manchester - that offer the pill without prescription to girls of that age.

Teenagers could buy the contraceptive over the counter in a pharmacy, but campaigners say it will encourage young people to have sex.

We've been speaking to people in Brighton about the issue.

Hayley, 16, told Newsbeat that the plans would go down well at her school because "some people don't want to tell their parents they are having sex".

She thinks it's good to have the option not to tell a family doctor.

Vanessa, Tessa and Hayley
Image caption Vanessa, Tessa and Hayley from Brighton think it's a good idea

Hayley's younger sister, Tessa, is 14 and says none of her friends are having sex but she reckons it's good to have the option of having quick access to the pill.

Tessa says she'd probably be happy to talk to her mum about going on the pill anyway.

The girls' mum Vanessa says she can see the benefits of the idea.

"My daughters - I hope - would come to me anyway, but there are those who perhaps can't so it's good for those.

"I'd rather have that than an unwanted pregnancy."

Beach 'temptation'

Katie, 17, and Tess, 18, think young people in Brighton can fall into having sex at a young age because all the clubs are next to the beach.

Kate and Tess
Image caption Katie and Tess think some young people in Brighton have sex too young

The girls say that after a night out some people go down there where it's dark and they can lie down.

Tess says offering 13-year-olds the pill will make them think it's safe to be having sex so young.

Katie reckons young girls don't like having the awkward conversation with their doctors about contraception.

Here are a selection of your comments on the issue from Newsbeat's Facebook page.

Beau Smith: It's not the government encouraging underage sex, they just know it happens so are trying to help reduce numbers of often unplanned and unwanted teenage pregnancies.

It may also mean more time for GPs to work on other medical issues in an already over stretched and under funded NHS!

Cath Roberts: I agree with anything to help stop teenage and/or unwanted pregnancies burden the system.

However, I feel there should be a quick health check, including blood pressure check, at a chemist before the pill is administered.

Anastasia Nana Huckvale-Dowling: I think sex needs to be a more discussed issue in schools before the pill is made available over the counter.

Gemma Howden: Some girls don't go on it because they don't want to go to their doctor because they think they'll tell their parents.

I'm lucky in that I went on it when I was 14 for period pains, and my mum went with me and was very supportive.

But I've had to change the pill I was on, and I do think the right checks need to be in place.

Elora Cooper: Condoms protect against STIs AND pregnancy.

Should be encouraging young girls to use those rather than risking them thinking they're safe with just the pill.

Radio 1 - Contraception information