I’ve mentioned before that things are quiet here in July, so quiet that the newspaper is reduced to a pamphlet atttached to a few pages of death notices, television listings, and property pages. However, if I was the editor of Aftenposten, I’d have gone front-page with the following little nugget of a story which was tucked away to the side of page six on Tuesday. The headline ran, ‘Approves of Pill for 12-year-olds’.
It seems that prompted by a written question to the Health Minister in March, it has just been publicly admitted by the Department of Health in Norway that girls as young as 12 can get the contraceptive pill from their school health service without their parents being informed. Twelve years of age! I find this piece of information stunning – so stunning that I can hardly articulate my thoughts on the matter - and so wrong on so many levels – physiologically, morally, psychologically in no particular order.
I know Norwegians are far more liberal sexually than us Irish, Brits or Americans – allowing dating teenagers to share beds, for example – but this is an outrage.
I don’t know anyone with children of that age here, so can’t solicit their opinion, or even check whether they were aware of this. I’m very upset about it despite the fact that I’ll have fled Norway before my children hit puberty – which may or may not be by the age of twelve. I’m still without internet access at home so haven’t been able to research the topic further, but I will. But isn’t that Aftenposten’s job? I want to know since when this government approval of the sexualisation of children began, how many girls aged 12, 13, 14 and 15 receive the Pill from their school doctor or nurse, and what was the basis for deciding that 12 was a good cut-off age for the provision of oral contraceptives at school?
I presume if a 12-year-old falls at school and is concussed, their parents will be informed, but it’s none of their parents business if they are pumping artificial hormones into their bodies (and becoming sexually active, believing that as long as pregnancy is avoided, it’s OK to have sex, because that’s the only danger of under-age sex, right?)?
More than anything, I want to know why parents, teachers and doctors are not up in arms over this, clogging radio phone-in lines, filling up internet forums and basically making this front-page news. Maybe they’re all too busy enjoying their holidays, journalists included.
For anyone wondering what story did in fact grab the front page of Aftenposten on Tuesday, it was the ‘news’ that half of boat-owners here don’t bother to carry maps on their boats. Eejits. Who cares? Apparently the newspaper’s editor, or his holiday substitute, thinks we do.