I’m obviously delighted and very relieved that Sue Axon today lost her case to force doctors to break confidentiality if a teenager wants to have an abortion or even just seek contraception advice.
Of course it’s much preferable if the parents can be informed in the case of an abortion. The current guidelines make it very clear that doctors should try and persuade them to do so or at least confide in another close family member, because it is in their best interest to do so. But to force doctors to do so – and take it out of their professional decision – would have been a disaster. People like Ms Axon who seem to believe that parents have a divine right over their children don’t live in the real world.
Not only would it be wrong – but it would also discourage girls from going to their doctor in the first place, because they wouldn’t be able to trust them. The result is children placed at greater risk, particularly of backstreet abortionists, who are thankfully not as common as they were before the initial legalisation of abortion.
In the case of simple contraception advise… there shouldn’t even be the expectation that the parents would be told!
(The title of this, btw, is a Doctor Who reference. Sorry.)