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Morning-after pills for kids in new school plan.

GIRLS as young as 13 will be able to get the morning-after pill without their parents' knowledge under a controversial sex health scheme.

The programme, piloted in Lothian, is to be rolled out across Scotland.

Health minister Malcolm Chisholm will introduce the Healthy Respect initiative to all areas in summer.

This is despite figures showing that the number of unwanted teenage pregnancies in Lothian rose while figures for the whole of Scotland dropped.

The pounds 3million pilot scheme has been running for three years in Lothian, giving teenagers access to free condoms, the morning-after pill and kits to detect sexually transmitted diseases.

Chisholm said the pilot had been a major success in encouraging schoolkids to take a more mature approach to sex.

Under the scheme, schoolkids are issued with 'C cards' resembling credit cards which allow them to get free condoms and chlamydia testing kits It also allows school nurses to refer schoolgirls as young as 13 to clinics for the morning-after pill.

John Deighan, of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: 'We believe there are serious problems introducing such a confidential service to kids as young as 13.'

Safeway provides the morning-after pill free at its pharmacy in Livingston, West Lothian, as part of the pilot scheme.

The firm said it would not extend the scheme until it had studied its findings.

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Minister: Chisholm
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 29, 2004
Words:227
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