Pill most popular with teenagers
Eight per cent of teenage girls aged 13 to 15 attended NHS community contraceptive clinics last year, figures show.
Data suggest that between 2011 and 2012, 70,000 girls aged 15 and under attended the community clinics.
Of these, 27,000 girls were aged 13 and 14.
The research by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) also shows that the clinics are used by 23% of 16-to-19-year-old women in England.
The pill is the most popular form of contraception for 15-year-old girls, according to the HSCIC.
Two-fifths (41%) of 15-year-olds who attended the NHS clinics opted for the contraceptive pill, while 36% asked for the male condom.
Figures show that in the previous year, the condom was the most popular form of contraception.
The HSCIC said that oral contraception has been the most common method of contraception for all the older age groups for many years but it is the first time that the pill has become the most popular form of contraception for 15-year-olds.
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “The report captures the changing way in which women across the age range are managing their reproductive health.
“While the oral contraceptive pill is clearly the most popular form of contraception among older women, this report indicates that now, for the first time, it has become the preferred form of contraception among 15-year-old girls too - overtaking the male condom.
“Together with the continuing rise of the long-acting reversible contraceptive, this captures just two of the ways in which people’s choice of contraception is changing.”