§ Mr. Hayhoe
This guidance is being issued today. It takes account of the recent House of Lords decision on the provision of contraceptive advice and treatment to girls under 16. It stresses the importance of involving parents when contraceptive advice is being sought by young people under 16 and states that it should be most unusual for a doctor or other professional to provide advice or treatment in relaton to contraception to such a young person without parental knowledge or consent. It acknowledges that there will, exceptionally, be cases where it is not possible to persuade a young person to allow her parents to be involved—for example, when family relationships have broken down. In such cases, a doctor or other professional would be justified in giving advice and treatment without parental consent or knowledge, provided he is satisfied on the following points:
- i. that the young person could understand his advice, and had sufficient maturity to understand what was involved in terms of the moral, social and emotional implications;
- ii. that he could neither persuade the young person to inform the parent, nor to allow him to inform them, that contraceptive advice was being sought;
- iii. that the young person would be very likely to begin, or to continue having sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment;
- iv. that, without contraceptive advice or treatment, the young person's physical or mental health, or both would be likely to suffer;
- v. that the young person's best interests required him to give contraceptive advice, treatment or both, without parental knowledge or consent.
I am placing a copy of the full text of the guidance in the Library.