An anomaly in local law is contributing to unwanted teenage pregnancies, an official of the Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association has asserted.
Association Programme Manager, Geralda Bray, has told the Times that there is need to address the anomaly.
Bray disclosed that under the law, a sixteen year old can give consent to sex.
However she explained that to access services related to sexual health, to manage pregnancies and space children, the same sixteen year old needs parental consent.
Bray recalled that during the development of the National Adolescent Health Policy, her association tried to have the matter addressed.
But she told the Times that unfortunately, the effort failed.
“It could have been handled there but I think there are still individuals who, because of maybe religious bias or their whole idea of sex and sexuality, do not think that individuals at sixteen should be allowed to see the Doctor without parental consent,” Bray said.
She asserted that there was need to use contraceptives if unwanted pregnancies are to be avoided.
The Programme Manager of the Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association was of the view that the law is contributing to unwanted pregnancies.
“Individuals who are sexually active at that age or even younger cannot access services, so it makes them feel as though they are still doing something wrong or they are prohibited from doing something that can help them,” Bray declared.
“If I can give consent at sixteen, why can’t I just walk in and get my contraceptives and counselling if I am having an issue?”
Bray revealed that there is a problem of relationship abuse, where sixteen year old females are in relationships with older men.
She observed that if the teenagers cannot come into the association, discuss such matters and obtain guidance, they will be developing bad relationship patterns from a very young age.