A teenager who made national headlines by having an abortion at 14 years old without her mother's knowledge has become pregnant again. Melissa Smith, now 15, is determined to keep this baby, which is believed to have the same father.
Melissa is currently in her final GCSE year, and is due to give birth in July, shortly after her exams. Her mother, Maureen, maintains that it was wrong for Melissa to have an abortion. She had previously launched a case at the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that her rights as a parent had been breached because care workers did not inform her about the secret termination. Mrs Smith also lashed out at those critics who claimed she failed as a mother, saying, 'I can't follow Melissa around with a camcorder 24 hours a day or tie her down to her bed.'
The pro-life charity, Life, welcomed the latest pregnancy. A spokesman said that it is common for women to have an 'atonement baby'after an abortion.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health's (DoH) guidance to health professionals about the provision of sexual health services has come under fire. The DoH recommends complete confidentiality over provision of abortion services, using the same guidelines employed for contraception. However, Mrs Sue Axon, a mother from Manchester is seeking High Court permission for a judicial review of the guidance, saying that it is in the interests of most children to have their parents involved in these decisions.Source: Guardian 2004; 18 November, Telegraph 2004; 18 November, Times 2004; 23 October, Nucleus 2004; July:5
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