An opposition leader in Queensland, Australia has slammed the government for implanting contraceptive devices in girls who have underage sex.
You must instead remove such children from dangerous and illegal situations, Opposition child safety spokeswoman Jan Stuckey told the state parliament Wednesday.
Queensland Health has admitted giving girls as young as 12 the contraceptive Implanon - a small plastic rod containing the hormone progestogen which is inserted into the arm and lasts three years.
Jan Stuckey said she discovered the practice on a visit earlier this year to two indigenous communities - Aurukun on Cape York and Woorabinda, west of Rockhampton.
Debate about the issue continued in parliament Thursday, with the opposition asking Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech if children in state care had been given the implant.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg charged that Keech did not answer many of the questions and accused her of "secrecy" about the practice.
"The role of the Child Safety Department is to actually take those children out of that environment," Springborg noted.
"What they're doing is putting these contraceptive devices into them and putting them back into the community (when) they should be out of harm's way."
Keech said contraceptive and sexual health issues for young people in the care of the state were discussed with the child's parents or guardians, health practitioners, doctors and counsellors.
"I do not believe politicians should be asking questions about private and confidential issues with respect to young people....It is a very difficult question and I do believe it is a question that is best left to the experts," she said.
However, Keech admitted that the Department of Child Safety staff had an obligation to report to police any underage person having sex.
State Health Minister Stephen Robertson said the director of nursing at Woorabinda Multipurpose Health Service confirmed that all of the implants were performed at the request of, or in consultation with, a child's mother and a doctor.
"Queensland Health staff have appropriately notified the Department of Child Safety of all known instances of suspected harm from sexual activity involving children under the age of 16 years in strict accordance with Queensland Health's child safety policy," Mr Robertson said.