Friday, October 03, 2008

Safe Sex or Jailed for Sex

Kathleen Marshall Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People has slammed the SNP's Sexual Offence's Bill asking for it to be postponed while further evidence to the effect was gathered. The bill which would make it a crime for 13 to 15 year olds girls from having sex with those of the same age she says could well deter underage girls seeking medical advise of assistance if they were also facing criminal proceedings when requiring medical advice.

When the Nats proposed the equality measure in June it was counter to the Scottish Law Commission call to decriminalise young teenagers from having consensual sex. They claimed it was a conflict to the safe sex message they wanted to pursue.

However, what happens if a girl does become sexually active before the age of 16 and wants to seek birth control, pregnancy, or STI advise. If she has to go to a Doctor she would know under this legislation that she is liable to be taken before a children's hearing and have that on her record. She may seek street advise, a backstreet abortion or go full term without medical assistance.

Is this safe?

The SNP seem determined to be a parent to us all, they think that they can deter underage drinking by raising the off sales age higher. They think they will stop underage sex and make it safe with this new legislation. While they do highlight issues by being so heavy handed in the approach they are taking they are making forbidden fruit more inviting to people of an age where rebellion and finding your own way has always been the way.

Education for responsible drinking and sexual activity are more important than banning, because no doubt underage drinking and sex will still go on and the health issues will still need to be dealt with. However, if seeking medical assistance leads to a criminal record will such assistance be sought.

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