School nurses can be formidable creatures.
At my school you could have been burning up with a temperature, sporting a bloody nose and the beginnings of a black eye after taking a hockey puck in the face or be covered in a rash, and the question would still be the same: “Are you on your period?”
And the treatment would always be a Lemsip and a lie down.
I cannot possibly imagine going to my school nurse aged 15 and asking for the morning after pill, as with the new plans announced by the NHS.
However, the fact it will be dispensed for free might have changed my mind.
The government has acknowledged this, and the ability to stock up at the local pharmacy before you’ve even had unprotected sex “just in case you do” could lead to some much less responsible attitudes.
In my teens, the morning after pill was something to be feared and revered. I’ve sat in many a clinic with pale-faced friends (and yes, once for myself) with leaflets being shoved in my face titled “How not to be the Whore of Babylon”. Or something to that effect.
Granted, it’s not 1996 anymore. But the attitude to understanding that teenagers need support, not a sermon, has shifted significantly.
To quote the seminal classic (cough) Beverly Hills 90210, there was an episode about the school nurse giving out condoms and Tori Spelling delivered a cheesy speech about gated swimming pools and if you know the kids will get in anyway, shouldn’t you teach them how to swim?
Wise words considering the lips from which they were spoken.
But popping this very strong pill as a form of everyday contraception is going to play havoc with your insides.
Teenagers are lazy. If you can take a pill after you have had sex rather than trying to remember to take one every morning, it will be an easy choice for them to make.
Of course we all recognise mistakes do happen – and that’s why the morning after pill exists.
However, surely handing them out on a Friday morning, for free, in preparation of a drunken, questionable choice on the Westgate Run puts it in your mind there’s no real risk anymore.
But the difference is that morning after pills do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
There may be a push on reducing teenage pregnancies, but I’d be more worried about my teenager catching chlamydia and being potentially rendered infertile. Or HIV. A condom will do the lot. And they’re cheaper than antibiotics.