Media Release 26 June 2014
Family First NZ says that “staggeringly high” rates of chlamydia reported among New Zealand teenage girls is proof that young people are being left misinformed and with a false sense of security. It also points to the failure of the free Emergency Contraception Pill schemes to young people and the ‘use a condom – safe sex’ myth. New Zealand’s rate of chlamydia is much higher than Australia’s (633 compared to 355 per 100,000 of population).
“Research has consistently shown that increased access to emergency contraception does not result in lower pregnancy rates among adolescents and young adults, but can be associated with an increased incidence of sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“A review last year by US psychiatrist Dr Miriam Grossman of sex education resources pushed by groups such as the Family Planning Association and Rainbow Youth found that they were not accurate, comprehensive, or up-to-date. The report said ‘Sex is seen as risky only when it’s ‘unprotected’. The efficacy of condoms is overstated, in some cases vastly so. The vulnerability of the immature cervix and the hazards of anal intercourse are omitted. Chlamydia is incorrectly described as ‘easily cured’. Young people are led to believe that sex is easily divorced from emotional attachment. Worst of all, critical life and death information is distorted or ignored’.”
A 2012 US study found increased access to emergency contraception increases the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, risk taking and a false sense of security, while doing nothing to reduce the number of abortions. The study found that more widespread use of the morning-after pill “led to a statistically significant increase in STD rates (gonorrhoea rates), both overall and for females.”
A study in the Journal of Health Economics in January 2011, conducted in the United Kingdom, which found that widespread access to emergency contraception did nothing to reduce pregnancy but increased STD rates by 12%.
There are also concerns that the morning-after pill could reduce the fertility of teenage girls later in life, according to a report by the Scottish Council of Human Bioethics. Glasgow GP Anne Williams said: ‘We’d be worried about hormonal disturbances which could affect the development of young girls and their future fertility. It could be like putting the wrong grade of oil into a car – it might grind to a halt.’ But no studies have been carried out on its effect on young girls.
“Teen girls deserve to be informed of the serious consequences of early sexual activity including the impact on emotional and mental welfare and academic performance, rather than given a false sense of security and being encouraged to take risks by adults who should know better,” says Mr McCoskrie.