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Abortion

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the policy of Connexions is on the provision to students under the age of 16 years attending Catholic schools of access to (a) abortion and (b) abortifacient birth control drugs and devices without parental (i) knowledge and (ii) permission; and if he will make a statement. (256727)

Under-16s have the same right to confidential advice on abortion and contraception—including emergency contraception—as adults. Where a young woman discloses to a non-health professional working in a school—such as a Connexions Personal Adviser or Youth Worker—that they are, or may be pregnant, the professional should refer the young woman to a health professional. There is no legal obligation to inform or seek permission from the young woman’s parent or carer before making the referral, although professionals are required to make every effort to encourage the young woman to talk to her parent or carer.

However, confidentiality is not absolute and can be breached if the professional judges that the young woman is at risk of significant harm. If this is the case, the professional would follow local child protection procedures.