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Would you organise an abortion for a 16-year-old?

Teachers say underage girls should lose the right to confidentiality over pregnancy and abortion. reports Adi Bloom

"A sixth-former, age 16, has told me she's pregnant. I bought her a pregnancy test. Over the years, colleagues and I have bought lots of tests for pupils. Even when they've spent the last few weeks throwing up, girls tend to think, 'If I don't have a test, I won't be pregnant'.The test was positive.

"The girl has a history of non-accidental bruising, so when she tells me that her mother and stepfather will beat her senseless and kick her out the house, I believe her. The father is a lad she's been going out with for months. She is sure that he would not want the baby, but would not be able to help telling people about it.

"She is a bright girl, and could be the first of her family to go to university. I have tried to present all her options. I do not want her to rush into an abortion she might regret. So I have talked about the level of support she would have if she chose to keep the baby, about the father's right to know, and about the irreversible nature of an abortion. But she is quite adamant she does not want the baby.

"What I want to do is to sort out an abortion and then take her to the clinic for an operation. Get it sorted as quickly as possible, so she can put it behind her. The same thing I would do for my own daughter, under similar circumstances. But she could become ill or infected. She could respond psychologically to it. She could tell her mother or friends, and they could accuse me of undue influence and interference.

"She and the boyfriend are over 16. So, what I want to know is: can I be disciplined if I take her to a clinic for an appointment? How far can I go and not get sacked?"

From the TES online staffroom www.tes.co.uk. Contact newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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